Restoring Access for Salmonids to Beaver Creek

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Fish monitoring on Beaver Creek (Photo by SPES)

Nestled between Beaver Lake and the Seawall is one of the most naturally and culturally important parts of Stanley Park’s heritage: Beaver Creek. As one of only four remaining salmon bearing streams in the City of Vancouver, this small waterway is worth protecting to ensure that the legacy of salmon in the city is not lost.

Historically this waterway supported breeding populations of both coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii) but over the years due to alterations in the Park and the degradation of Beaver Lake, the quality of Beaver Creek’s fish habitat has deteriorated and the survival of these fish is threatened.

Since 2010 the Stanley Park Ecology Society has been actively engaged in monitoring the water quality and fish populations in Beaver Creek to assess future restoration and habitat enhancement possibilities.

Last year SPES initiated the first phase of the Restoring Access for Salmonids to Beaver Creek project, which included stabilizing creek banks by removing invasive plants and planting over 300 native plants that provide habitat for insects, the main diet of fish in the creek. Additionally, with the assistance of the Vancouver Park Board, SPES installed a beaver baffler at the outflow of Beaver Lake to ensure that the beaver’s instinctual damming activities did not block adequate water from flowing into the creek.

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The second phase of the project is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015. It involves removing barriers to upstream fish migration by restoring and enhancing spawning and rearing habitat, and ensuring the ongoing protection of this habitat through education and outreach.

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To meet these goals SPES will be working with local consulting companies, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Vancouver Park Board to do the following:

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  • Construct a step-pool at the Pipeline Road bridge fish barrier to provide fish passage enhancement that mimics natural channel conditions and provides access at a range of stream flows.
  • Improve seawall fish access and undertake pocket estuary restoration and the creation of a fish-accessible channel meeting the seawall outlet.
  • Undertake environmental monitoring before the work to capture a baseline of data, during the work to mitigate impacts and post-work to evaluate the success of the construction phases.

The restoration of Beaver Creek and its estuary will help ensure the conservation of valuable fish and wildlife habitat within the City of Vancouver and will enhance the diversity of both resident trout and salmon as well as intertidal species such as surf smelt, invertebrates and waterbirds. This project is also in alignment with many of the goals and objectives of the Park Board Strategic Plan as well as the Stanley Park Ecological Action plan. It is also a crucial part in the larger Beaver Lake restoration plan which is still in the planning stages.

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Financial support for Restoring Access for Salmonids to Beaver Creek is generously provided by:

Environment Canada: EcoAction Community Funding Program

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation

HSBC Bank of Canada

Fisheries & Oceans Canada: Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program

Pacific Salmon Foundation

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