At one time the Burman River was considered one of the most important salmon bearing rivers in Nootka Sound. During the 1960's, the Burman River supported pink salmon escapements as high as 150,000 and large numbers of Chinook (maximum escapement 10,000), coho (maximum escapement 10,000) and chum salmon (maximum escapement 20,000).
In December of 1967 logging operations commenced in the Burman River watershed and by the fall of 1968 logging had progressed 9.6 km upstream of the river mouth. Logging in the watershed continued until 1978. The negative impacts of logging became apparent after 1972.
The highest pink escapement on record was in 1972, when 165,000 adults returned to spawn. Between 1972 and 1986, the pink salmon returns had fallen to less than 100 individuals. Since 1986, the highest return was in 2001 when 24 individual pink salmon returned to the Burman River to spawn. Spawn surveys completed since 1978 have demonstrated, that no species of salmon have recovered from past logging impacts.
In 2005 assessment works completed in the Burman River watershed identified a number of areas where restoration opportunities exist. Stream 11 (orphaned channel) was given the highest priority of the sites assessed. This orphaned channel enters the Burman River approximately 8.5 km from the mouth of the river. The stream is severely aggraded and is seasonally de-watered, resulting in the loss of fry and the desiccation of eggs.