"Committed to the restoration of wild Pacific salmon in mid Vancouver
Island watersheds through habitat restoration and community engagement"
"Committed to the restoration of wild Pacific salmon in mid Vancouver
Island watersheds through habitat restoration and community engagement"

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Beach Seining in the Englishman River Estuary

beachseining2MVIHES is conducting a beach seining study this summer in the Englishman River Estuary as part of a project with the Nature Trust. Thanks to the Nature Trust, one of the man-made dykes in the estuary is being removed. Why you ask? That's a very good question.

The estuary is a place where tidal waters from the ocean move up into the Englishman River, and river water flows out to the ocean. This mixing of salt and freshwater that changes four times daily with the tide, creates a multitude of habitats that support a wide variety of unique plants, animals, birds, and insects. The estuary serves as a nursery area for several species of salmon. 


The construction of the dyke in 1969 isolated the western portion of the estuary, apparently to prevent tidal intrusion and reclaim the land from the sea. In 1979, the dyke was breached and the gap was spanned by a bridge. This reopened the western part of the estuary to the influences of tide and salt water and with them came the fish and the estuarine marsh plants. The bridge has since been removed and the gap widened. However, the remaining stretch of dyke (in red) still impedes the original estuarine flow into the western portion of the estuary, so is being removed.

beachseining5The Nature Trust plans to monitor the changes that occur in the western portion after the dyke is removed. That's where MVIHES and the Arrowsmith Naturalists come in. We are identifying and counting the fish that we capture during beach seining to determine if the numbers and species of fish change after removal of the dyke. The Arrowsmith Naturalists are monitoring vegetation in the western portion to determine what changes occur in the vegetation.

MVIHES completed a comprehensive Bio-inventory of the estuary in 2008. The sites beachseining6where beach seining occurred during the bio-inventory are being used in this year's study, so not only can we compare results from before and after the dyke is removed, we can also compare with the results in the bio-inventory.

 Come on out and join the fun, learn to identify the different fish species, and know you are collecting some valuable information that can be used in future estuary land management.


Groundwater and the Englishman River


Between Englishman River Falls and the Hatchery, the flow in the river drops by approximately 6%; this suggests the Englishman River loses water, thus recharging the fractured bedrock aquifer. 

 Most of the bedrock wells depict a stable groundwater elevation trend; however, there are two wells where a decreasing trend and one well where an increasing trend has been observed. 

To learn more  check out the report  Groundwater - Surface Water Interaction in the Englishman River - Project Update                                            





Our Cohos have some strange visitors

Our Coho smolts had a couple of strange visitors the other day: pumpkinseeds.pumpkinseed

Pumpkinseed is an introduced species and rumour has it that it was introduced by the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery about 100 years ago. This is what a document in the DFO library has to say about pumpkinseeds:

Pumpkinseed prefers the same habitat as juvenile Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) though it has not been found to have a direct effect on Coho. It was not found to consume them directly, and the growth rates of Coho juveniles in areas with Pumpkinseed were greater than growth rates in neighbouring areas without Pumpkinseed. – (provided by Dave Clough)

Apparently, pumpkinseed help keep the water clean and perhaps the Coho smolts benefit from this. An interesting relationship.

Since May 10, we have counted 513 Coho, 113 Steelhead and 15 Cutthroat trout. By May 10 last year we had counted 4,313 Coho, 61 Steelhead and 8 Cutthroat trout. It’s a very different year so far with interesting surprises. Don’t miss out. See you at the smolt trap. 




Loss of a great friend.......

FayeIt was with great sadness that we  learned of the passing of Faye Smith, our friend and Project Co-ordinator, on March 23. Faye was the heart and soul of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society which was established in 1996 to restore wild Pacific salmon to mid Vancouver Island watersheds.

Faye was passionate about involving communities in the stewardship of their watersheds, with the belief that residents can make a difference when they learn the connection between what is happening on land and the health of wild salmon. The “Watershed Health and You” program was developed for just this purpose.

“The advancement in knowledge of the Englishman River Watershed is greatly due to Faye’s continuous hard work, whether in organizing volunteers for sampling water, filling applications for funding, organizing public meetings, attending public forums … and asking hard questions.  And always with a smile and a lot of class.”  Gilles Wendling

Faye Smith is a terrific example of a dedicated stream-keeper, whose many hours of volunteer time, working on our small urban streams, lakes and wetlands is having an important influence on local government’s policy concerning watercourses.” Peter Law

Contributions to MVIHES will be used to continue Faye’s work in community watershed stewardship and salmon habitat restoration projects.

Faye is already greatly missed.boot


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