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Report: Fish Passage Culvert Assessments Mid Coast TSA FIA# 6806001 [PSCIS22]

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FIA# 6806001: Forsite Consultants Ltd. was contracted to complete a fish passage assessment project within the Bella Coola and Owikeno watershed groups.

Author:  Dustin Oaten, MSc., Forsite

Date Published:  Mar 2009

Report ID:  24129

Audience:  Government and Public

Fish passage failure at road crossings constitutes a major loss of habitat and is considered to be a major provincial problem. Culverted sites have been recognized as a major problem contributing to fish passage barriers. In response to this, the provincial government has undertaken a systematic, watershed-based approach to determining fisheries values on a watershed basis based on the biodiversity and socioeconomic value of watersheds in the province. These assessments were designed to prioritize watersheds in order to begin to help to determine where fish passage assessments would be the most effective. The results of the watershed prioritization process showed that several watersheds within the Mid Coast TSA were ranked as a priority 1 watershed including the Bella Coola and Owikeno watershed groups. Forsite Consultants Ltd. was contracted to complete a fish passage assessment project within the Bella Coola and Owikeno watershed groups which focused on high value rivers, the Machmell, Kilbella, Chuckwalla, and Sheemahant rivers in the Owikeno watershed and the Saloomt, Bella Coola, Talchako, and Nusatsum rivers in the Bella Coola watershed. The intention of this work was to assess culverts located within these watersheds that may be acting as barriers to fish passage. These culverts are located on non-status, Forest Service, and pre-1995 built roads. In total we assessed 203.0 kilometers of road, completed fish passage assessments on 90 structures, and identified the location of an additional 263 culvert locations. The results of our assessments showed that only two structures located on moderate to high quality fish streams, both located within the Bella Coola watershed, are serving as barriers to fish passage. However, our analyses showed that the cost of replacing these structures, combined with the low habitat gained (<1500 m), makes them unsuitable for replacement.

Report Type
  Fish and Aquatic Habitat Information
  Fish and Fish Habitat - Culvert Fish Passage
  Fish Species - Chinook Salmon - Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
  Fish Species - Chum Salmon - Oncorhynchus keta
  Fish Species - Coho Salmon - Oncorhynchus kisutch
  Fish Species - Cutthroat Trout (General) - Oncorhynchus clarki
  Fish Species - Dolly Varden Char - Salvelinus malma
  Fish Species - Pink Salmon - Oncorhynchus gorbuscha
  Fish Species - Rainbow Trout - Oncorhynchus mykiss
  Fish Species - Sockeye Salmon - Oncorhynchus nerka
  Fish Species - Steelhead - Oncorhynchus mykiss
  Region - Vancouver Island
  Watershed Groups - 910 - North Coast Rivers (North of Cape Caution)

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