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Report: Small Woody Debris Restoration in the Puntledge River Headpond COA-F17-F-1199

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This pilot project will determine whether the addition of strategically placed small woody debris (SWD) in the headpond could potentially reduce summer Chinook fry entrainment at the hydro facility by providing a safer and more complex corridor for migration away from the hydro penstock intakes.

Author:  E. Guimond, M. Sheng

Old Reference Number:  COA-F17-F-1199

Old Reference System:  FWCP - Fish Wildlife Compensation Program Coastal

Date Published:  Nov 2016

Report ID:  52335

Audience:  Government and Public

With support from the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association (CFGA) Conservation Committee and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), a habitat enhancement project was completed in the Puntledge River headpond in January/February 2016 using recycled Christmas trees. This pilot project will determine whether the addition of strategically placed small woody debris (SWD) in the headpond could potentially reduce summer Chinook fry entrainment at the hydro facility by providing a safer and more complex corridor for migration away from the hydro penstock intakes, and whether it will enhance rearing habitat, allowing fry to remain in the headpond longer, growing to a preferable larger size before they migrate past the hydro facility, with a higher diversion rate at the Eicher fish screens. These project objectives address Research and Information Acquisition and Habitat based priority actions in the Puntledge River Salmonid Action Plan (BC Hydro 2011) by providing further insight on downstream fish passage limitations of emergent Chinook fry and their behaviour/response to habitat enhancement activities in the lower Puntledge River mainstem. The SWD installations were assessed during 5 snorkel surveys between March and April to determine utilization of the SWD by wild Chinook fry. In addition, releases of marked fry and minnow trapping was conducted to assess fry distribution and longevity of use. Overall, the sites that were treated with SWD bundles had slightly higher densities of fry compared to untreated sites, suggesting that Chinook fry were attracted to the SWD. However the total number of fry observed during all surveys was low (maximum 1.2 fry/m2, average 0.5 fry/m2). Results from marked fry releases and minnow trapping were inconclusive.

Report Type
  Fish and Aquatic Habitat Information
 
Subject
  Fish and Fish Habitat - Restoration
  Fish Species - Chinook Salmon - Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
  Region - Lower Mainland
  Water Information - Restoration
 


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