On July 4, 2007, inorganic fertilizer was applied to the Salmon River (Kelsey Bay), Grilse Creek, and the Memekay River to restore nutrients lost through decreased salmon production and to address footprint impacts as a result of BC Hydro diversion operations. Winter-run steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and coho salmon (O. kisutch) are the primary target for enrichment activities on the Salmon although benefits are shared by many species, both aquatic and terrestrial. A total of 1,720 kg of slow release fertilizer (Nutricote T40; 16-40-0) was distributed over six sites in the Salmon River watershed. In a small conducted using recycled T40 recovered from a previous treatment, 120 kg of fertilizer was tested in the upper Salmon River below Jessie Creek. Loading rates were conservative as a result of above average stream flows that persisted throughout the duration of the treatment. Low-level nutrient concentrations from water sampling indicate that orthophosphate was below target levels in all sites. Nitrogen levels were also very low compared to previous water chemistry data. Periphyton samples collected from Grilse Creek, Salmon River and Memekay River showed a marginal increase in algae abundance for treated reaches. Juvenile fish sampling data collected from Grilse Creek indicated a statistically significant positive growth response to fertilizer treatments (95% C.I.). The magnitude of the response was much less than previous treatments; likely due to cooler water temperatures and higher stream flows. Results from the recycled T40 experiment were inconclusive as high flows diluted the nutrients before algal growth could be established. Similar conditions and results were observed in 1999. Accordingly, it is recommended that enrichment activities only occur during years where discharge is considered to be near or below average.
Pellett, Kevin. 2008. Salmon River Nutrient Enrichment for Fish Habitat Restoration: 2007. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program. Forest Investment Account Report
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), British, Columbia
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