The Nahwitti River is one of the largest watersheds on Northern Vancouver Island, with a drainage area in excess of 225km2. Many of the tributaries within the Nahwitti watershed are large, and provide valuable spawning and rearing habitat for several species of anadromous salmonids. Several of these tributaries have experienced industrial development, including forest harvesting, and have been degraded in some instances. In an effort to address the decline in fish populations within the Nahwitti watershed, Richmond Plywood Corporation Ltd. provided funding to conduct a Watershed-Based Fish Sustainability Plan (WBFSP), which was completed in 2003 (Gold and McCorquodale 2003). The development of the plan involved a diverse assemblage of local stakeholders from the North Island. The plan identified data gaps, constraints to fish production and habitat productivity, and specific areas and projects where intervention could improve fish habitat. One of the tributaries identified for habitat improvement through the WBFSP process is the Chalk Creek drainage, a system which empties into the Nahwitti mainstem at the East main bridge crossing (Figure 1). Chalk Creek drains an area of approximately 6.44km2, and flows in a south to north direction. Historically, the drainage provided spawning and / or rearing habitat for coho salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout, and possibly dolly varden char. The construction of logging roads and harvesting of riparian zones have caused severe impact to both spawning and rearing habitat, particularly in the lowest reach of the creek. While salmonid species still utilize the system, habitat conditions are such that the current condition limits fish production (Triton, 1996). Through the Nahwitti WBFSP process, the lower reach of Chalk Creek was identified as a habitat restoration opportunity (Gold and McCorquodale, 2003). A large pond, separated from the floodplain of Chalk Creek by the construction of a logging road, could provide excellent rearing habitat for salmonids (especially coho) if it were restored. Subsequent assessment of the drainage was conducted in 2003, following a modified by Pacificus Consulting.
Pacificus Consulting Inc.. 2004. Fish habitat restoration designs for Chalk Creek, located in the Nahwitti River Watershed. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2004MR020