MVIHES is collaborating with the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Parks Dept to restore, conserve and protect riparian habitats in Englishman River Regional Park (ERRP). The project is being led by MVIHES volunteer, James Craig.
Since park formation in 2003 and since COVID 19 arrived, the trail network within the park has seen uncontrolled expansion with significant negative impacts along a large portion of the river’s west bank riparian edge, as well as parts of Clay Young Side Channel. The Side Channel is a very important rearing area for Coho Salmon fry and smolts. Both the number and size of trails have exploded with duplicate and unsanctioned trails close or next to the water’s edge through most of the 4.8km of river channel that flow through the park.
The left-hand photo shows the lack of riparian vegetation needed to stabilize the riverbank and provide shade for juvenile salmon and trout caused by the trail being right beside the river.
The right-hand photo shows an area of eroded riverbank (delineated by red lines) due to excessive foot traffic.
And due to the dynamic nature of the river, some trails are being destroyed by flooding as the river carves a new channel (left-hand photo). Eventually these areas will be inaccessible, putting more pressure on the remaining trails.
With a grant from the Pacific Salmon Foundation, funding from the RDN Parks Dept, and support from DFO’s Resource Restoration Unit, we are working with RDN Parks staff and contractors to:
- design, purchase and install educational signage to encourage people to stay on sanctioned trails,
- purchase and install split rail cedar fencing to direct foot traffic to the sanctioned trail along the Side Channel
- decommission unsanctioned trails along the Side Channel
- plant native shrubs and live stakes in impacted riparian areas to improve instream and overstream
vegetation and, ultimately, salmonid productivity.
We have completed installing split rail fencing in an area along the Side Channel as seen in the photos below. Isn’t it beeyootiful! Mid Island Fence Products supplied and installed the fence. The red squares highlight areas of bank that have been trampled and require restoration.
On March 16 and 17, volunteers planted 115 shrubs in 1-gallon pots into the damaged bank of the Side Channel. Plant species include snowberry, salmonberry, Pacific nine-bark, Oregon grape, red-elderberry, sword fern, and sedges. After the shrubs were planted we spread logs and woody debris around them and along the cedar fence to discourage people and dogs from climbing over the fence and walking in the planted area.
Our Action Heroes include:
Martin Yeo Terry Baum (left) Barb Riordan (right)
Brian Lea Liz Bredberg
Heather Ranson James Craig, Project Leader
Bob Williams Time to go home
Other volunteers (who dodged the camera) were Barbara Wildman-Spencer and Marty LaCroix. Our wonderful Social Media Coordinator, Polina Iudina, took most of the photos. She also shot this awesome video.
Many thanks to our volunteers and:
Elaine McCulloch, Amy Gore, and Dave Wheldon of the RDN Parks Department,
Area G Director Lehann Wallace who acknowledged our concerns and brought forward the motion of managing trails and restoring riparian habitat to the Regional Parks and Trails Select Committee,
and the Pacific Salmon Foundation
The partnership between Snaw-naw-as First Nation and MVIHES continues in the restoration of salmon habitat on Shelly Creek with the planting of over 1230 trees and shrubs between November 23 and 26. Planting was completed on the 200 m section of creek that was restored this summer for fry and smolt rearing, as described in a previous article.
Andrew McNaughton, consultant for the Snaw-naw-as, had his team of Megan Peruzzo and Steven Moore measure the planting area and determine the species and number of plants that would produce the best riparian area for bank stability and shade for the fish. Other critters will also benefit from the diversity of plants.
Some of the 21 selected species include Bigleaf Maple, Douglas and Grand Firs, Hemlock, Sword Fern, Salmonberry, Snow Berry, Red Elderberry, Hardhack, Swamp Gooseberry, and Stink Currant.
The plants were purchased from Streamside Native Plants by the Snaw-naw-as and delivered to the site in a container truck driven by Chris Bob, Councillor and Project Leader for the Snaw-naw-as. Over the course of four days, 19 MVIHES volunteers planted trees and shrubs alongside Steven, Megan, Chris and Chris' son Logan. Katie Schulze, a practicum student for Andrew McNaughton who is taking a post-degree Diploma course in Fisheries and Aquaculture at Vancouver Island University, got some practical experience planting with us. Our MLA, Adam Walker, and his daughter joined us as well. All but the last three photos were taken by our awesome new Social Media Co-ordinator, Polina Iudina. Watch the awesome video Polina produced here.
Megan Peruzzo Shelley Goertzen
Steven Moore (l.) and Chris Bob (r.) Ben McManus
Adam and Addison Walker Bob Williams One of two bridges supplied by Chris and Logan Bob
Chris Bob brought some delicious smoked Sockeye Salmon from his community to keep us energized. What a treat!
MVIHES volunteers included Alex Grant, Tom Whitfield (Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers), Austin Peterson, Stephanie Gabel, Ben McManus and his neighbour Keith, Shelley Perry, Bob Williams, Shelley Goertzen, Brian Lea, Terry Baum, Maggie Estok, Mark Hutchinson, Rick Walz, Dick Dobler, Pat Ashton, Heather and David Ranson, Linsday Orr, and Barb Riordan.
Many thanks for a great job done by everyone!