Conference Creek Watershed Restoration Project
Conference Creeks are a series of creeks that flow off the ridge between Mt. Dawley and Salmonberry Mt. and into Kennedy Lake. Historic logging and road construction practices have negatively impacted fish and fish habitat in these creeks.
Conference Creeks historically supported healthy coho salmon and blue-listed coastal cutthroat trout populations. Surface and subsurface flows into Kennedy Lake from the Conference Creek drainages maintained valuable shore spawning habitat for sockeye salmon. Fish bearing habitat for these creeks is located on the benched area adjacent to Kennedy Lake and is bisected by Highway 4 and an old logging road, East Main. Channels, which once had productive aquatic ecosystems, are no longer accessible due to hung or collapsed culverts. Creeks have been rerouted, dewatered and replaced with featureless ditches. In other cases, channels have become the recipient of an increase in flow, overwhelming the channel and leading to an unstable braided channel with little of the remaining historic depth and cover.
Project to Date
Since 2013 Central Westcoast Forest Society and the Tla-o-quiaht Nation have been working with the Ministry of Transportation to re-connect fish habitat fragmented by highway construction. In 2013 we began by rebuilding a step-pool sequence below a slightly hung culvert to once again allow fish access, then in 2015 we replaced two hung/crushed culverts with large concrete culverts which has allowed for fish to pass under the road and access habitat that had been blocked off since road construction in 1959. In addition a 20m long off-channel was built to enhance rearing opportunities along with a riparian thinning and planting program to help speed up the recovery of the riparian forest surrounding these creeks.