Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers
 

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Restoration

Little Qualicum River Estuary - 2015

A follow-up session to the 2014 planting project took place in May of 2015. A group of volunteers transported and spread mulch on the plantings to help protect them from the dryness in the coming summer. We will work with the BC Conservation Federation on a summer watering program to help ensure that these plantings get well established.


Little Qualicum River Estuary - 2014

In November of 2014, we recruited a large group of volunteers out for a few bright, busy days at the Little Qualicum River Estuary to assist the BC Conservation Foundation and Streamside Native Plant Nursery Staff with plantings at the spit on the estuary.

There were about 4 identified locations where native shrubs were planted within wire fence enclosures along with dune grass and Nootka rose plantings along the sloughing bank across from the DFO rearing channels.  QB Streamkeepers will be involved in site monitoring and invasive species control at the estuary on an ongoing basis.

QB Streamkeeper Ed Hollington readies one site for much needed re-vegetation Volunteers had fun with the logistics of getting material for re-planting the banks of the DFO rearing channel

Many hands from QB Streamkeepers and other groups across Oceanside pitched in to help BCCF on Day One .


Grandon Creek Habitat Improvement - 2014

In mid summer of 2014, a second phase of fish habitat improvements on lower Grandon Creek were carried out. Under the direction of Fisheries Biologist Dave Clough, a team of Qualicum Beach Streamkeeper volunteers supported the work by moving the resident fish to safety in the upper pools. Over two hundred fish – about half coho and half cutthroat trout - were netted. A temporary dam was constructed, and portable pumps moved the stream water around the construction zone.

The project involved the creation of a new, large pool adjacent to the aluminium bridge on the walking trail, as well as the improvement of three smaller pools built in 2013. Two dump truck loads of large rocks were added to the banks and lips of the pools for stability. A medium duty excavator contracted from Parksville Heavy Equipment carried out the excavation and material movement and placement.

The Town of Qualicum Beach provided over a dozen logs and tree root clusters, which were installed on the banks to help reduce erosion and create shade and shelter for fish. Streamkeeper volunteers subsequently fastened cables to rocks, to ensure the logs and tree roots would be stable during high water periods.

Fish have returned to the pools – we are hoping for a productive spawning season.

The work was supported financially by the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as by the Town of Qualicum Beach.

Newest and largest pool under construction, with LWD installed Installing upstream dam to divert stream flow around construction area
Our fisheries biologist, Dave Clough, speaking with Mick and Gord Some of the members of the Streamkeeper volunteer crew


Grandon Creek Habitat Restoration Project

We started a major restoration project in August of 2013, the first phase of which has been completed. It will continue up to two more years.  The objective of this habitat improvement project is to improve spawning and rearing opportunities for coho salmon and cutthroat trout in the lower reaches of Grandon Creek, which is located on the west side of Qualicum Beach. 

Grandon Creek is home to hundreds of coho fry which grow from eggs laid in the streambed gravel by spawning adults in the winter. Over the years, fine sediment deposits have built up in the creek, raising the level of the gravel beds which then become exposed as soon as the winter high flows subside. Eggs that were laid in those gravels will not survive.

With funding from the Pacific Salmon Foundation and in-kind support from the Town of Qualicum Beach and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the sediment has been removed, deeper pools for rearing have been created, better spawning gravel has been added and large woody debris has been placed in the pools for shade and cover. The project is overseen by fisheries biologist Dave Clough.

The Town of Qualicum Beach widened and improved the walking path at the bottom of Grandon Creek to allow access for heavy equipment to carry out the sediment removal. Streamkeepers will replant the stream-side areas in the late fall that have been damaged by the equipment necessary to carry out this project. If you would like the full details of the project, you can look at the Project Report that was submitted to the Pacific Salmon Foundation on December 28th, 2013.

Grandon Creek Grandon Creek
Widening of path Pools are deepened
Grandon Creek Grandon Creek
Preparing to anchor woody debris First phase completed


Salmon Toss

Salmon TossEach year, the riparian ecosystem of the Little Qualicum River is enhanced by the transport and distribution of salmon carcasses along the upstream banks of the river. Over a two day period, volunteers collect salmon carcasses from the river at the fish hatchery, load them onto a truck with the assistance of a conveyor belt and unload them at a number of locations further upstream. Tom Russell shows off his "big catch" in the photo at right. The carcasses provide valuable nutrients for aquatic species and insects which in turn provide food for young fish.

In November 2013, we collected almost 30,000 pounds of Chum Carcasses in our annual salmon toss. They were deposited in the upper watershed of the Little Qualicum River including Whisky and Kincade Creeks.

Shaw TV came out and filmed the process.   Scroll down to view the short video which has been posted to YouTube, giving an overview of the value of this activity by budding media superstars Tom Russell and Peter Drummond, and showing the team in action.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this such a success!!

Unfortunately in 2014 the run of Chum salmon was not sufficent to support a carcass redistribution. However, 2015 was a much more successful year. Click here for a pictorial overview of this event.





Beach Creek

Beach Creek


The lower sections of Beach Creek flowing through the Memorial Golf Course are in sandy soil subject to erosion and sedimentation. Improvements to the stream have included the installation of large woody debris (LWD) at key points to help create pools and provide protection for fish, and the placement and anchoring of native tree trunks along erosion prone banks. Native plants such as ferns and salmonberries have been planted on the banks to provide vegetative cover.

Memorial Golf Course


In the spring of 2012, a team of streamkeepers worked with the Memorial Golf course to design, construct and install an improved water control structure on an existing dam to improve water retention and enhance fish access and egress from the water storage pond on Beach Creek.







Progress at Beach Creek



At a work party on November 24, 2012, we removed 70 plastic sleeves from cedars that were planted 5 or so years ago. The survival rate was outstanding. Note the bio-engineering work done previously on the eroding bank, which is holding very nicely. And note the growth of the previous plantings.







Grandon Creek

Grandon CreekWorking with Fisheries Biologist Dave Clough, several work parties were scheduled during the summer to enhance fish spawning habitat.  At this particular work party, the team anchored two logs along the bank and built several expanded fish spawning pools with added gravel and protective boulders.

Staff gauge and flow monitor at Grandon Creek and West Crescent Road culvert. The flow monitoring of Grandon Creek and other East Coast Vancouver Island small streams is a long-term project (at least 10 years) sponsored by the BC Conservation Foundation.

Grandon Creek The objective is to create a database that will help protect and conserve the creek, the fish and the ecosystem in light of increasing urban development. QB Streamkeepers will collect the data by downloading the level logger (on the right) a few times a year. The information will be shared with the Town and the community.

The Town of Qualicum Beach is cleaning the gravel out of the first caisson on Grandon Creek in the summer of 2012. (see photos below) Fisheries Biologist, Dave Clough, and his assistant removed any fish in the area (13 coho fry and 6 cutthroat trout). To find out more about the caissons and fish passage check the information board at the bottom of the Grandon Creek Trail off West Crescent Road.

Grandon Creek Grandon Creek

Planting

PlantingHundreds of young trees have been planted over the years on both Beach and Grandon Creeks to provide shade and reduce water temperatures for fish. In the longer term, as the trees mature, their root systems will stabilize the soils of the riparian zones and reduce erosion and sedimentation. Native species which have been planted include cedar, hemlock, spruce and fir.