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Report: Restoring Wildlife Habitat: Salmon River Conservation Area FWCP Project # COA-F17-W-1221

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The goal of this 1- year project was to restore wetland, riparian and upland habitats at the newly acquired conservation land, and to inventory species at risk.

Author:  K. Barry

Old Reference Number:  COA-F17-W-1221

Old Reference System:  FWCP Fish Wildlife Compensation Program - Coastal

Date Published:  Jun 2017

Report ID:  52841

Audience:  Government and Public

The Salmon River estuary is a significant area of coastal wetland habitat located on a relatively steep and rugged 250km stretch of coastline from Campbell River to the network of estuaries on the Quatsino lowlands of Vancouver Island. This strategic location has made the Salmon River an important stopping point for migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines and provides significant habitat to several fish and mammal species. Since 1978, in recognition of these exceptional fish and wildlife values, The Nature Trust of British Columbia (TNTBC) and its partners in the Pacific Estuary Conservation Program have been actively securing habitat in the Salmon River Estuary. In 2015, with support from FWCP and others, TNTBC purchased 165 acres near the lower Salmon River as an addition to the Salmon River Estuary Conservation Area. This complements 257 acres secured since 1978. The new property contains a diverse mix of habitats including riparian, wetland, and forest. However, some areas on this new conservation property have been previously impacted by logging and other anthropogenic activities. The goal of this 1- year project was to restore wetland, riparian and upland habitats at the newly acquired conservation land, and to inventory species at risk. This project was coordinated by the Vancouver Island Conservation Land Management Program (VICLMP) which is an innovative strategic partnership program involving the management of over 100 conservation areas --mostly coastal wetlands and estuaries-- on Vancouver Island, and central and north coasts. With FWCP support, we achieved the following outcomes from April 2016 to March 2017:  Completed 3 point count surveys for songbirds in April, May and June 2016  Completed 3 nocturnal owl surveys in April, May and October 2016  Collected water quality and trapping data for 2 wetland ponds  Restored 30,000m2 (3 ha) of upland habitat by removing invasive Scotch broom and replanting 700 native trees and shrubs with high wildlife value  Enhanced 2763.5 m2 riparian habitat along the Salmon River by planting 80 native trees  Improved 55m of linear wetland habitat by planting 28 native wetland plants, removing old debris, regrading steep shorelines, and installing woody structures  Created new nesting habitat for Western Screech Owls by installing 4 nest boxes Results from this work improved habitat for breeding, migrating, and overwintering birds, amphibians, mammals and salmon. As identified in the Campbell River Species of Interest Action Plan (October 2011), the following 9 species of conservation concern were recorded (observed, heard, or sign) on the property during our field work: Roosevelt elk, Northern Goshawk, Great Blue Heron, Sooty Grouse, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Barn Swallow, Band-tailed Pigeon, and Northwestern salamander (egg masses). Several priority species benefited directly from this habitat enhancement project, including Roosevelt elk, Western Screech-Owl, Northern red-legged frog, Western toad, as well as cutthroat, coho and other salmonids.

Report Type
  Terrestrial Information
  Amphibians & Reptiles - Northwestern Salamander: Ambystoma gracile
  Amphibians & Reptiles - Western Toad: Bufo boreas
  Birds - Band-tailed Pigeon: Columba fasciata
  Birds - Barn Swallow: Hirundo rustica
  Birds - Northern Pygmy Owl: Glaucidium gnoma
  Fish Species - Coho Salmon - Oncorhynchus kisutch
  Fish Species - Cutthroat Trout (General) - Oncorhynchus clarki
  Fish Species - Salmon (General) - Oncorhynchus spp.
  Mammals - Elk: Cervus elaphus
  Region - Vancouver Island

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