Kennedy Watershed Restoration Project

The Kennedy Watershed Restoration Project (KWRP) was initiated by Central Westcoast Forest Society in 1994 and a Restoration Plan was written that addressed the root causes directly responsible for the immediate loss of habitat quantity and quality as well as the ecosystem processes that create and maintain habitats through time.

Kennedy Flats Restoration Plan

Kennedy Flats (Resource Management Plan Watershed #249) is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in southern Clayoquot Sound, and is located within the Vancouver Forest Region, South Island Forest District, and is approximately 10 km north of Ucluelet. The entire Kennedy Flats watershed unit is 12,937 ha (129.4 square kilometres) which includes nine sub-basins: Kootowis, Hospital, Sandhill, Staghorn, Trestle South, Trestle, Indian/Harold, Lost Shoe, and Salmon.

The Kennedy Flats’ streams contain Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), Chum (Oncorhynchus keta), Coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch), Sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) and Pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) salmon, resident and sea-run Coastal Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii), Steelhead and Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma), Coast Range Sculpin (Cottus aleuticus), Prickly Sculpin (Cottus asper), Three Spined Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and Pacific Lamprey (Lampetra tridentate) (Fisheries Inventory Data Queries).

Much of the watershed was logged between 1950 and 1980, including 26 percent of the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, prior to the lands being set aside for a National Park purposes in 1970. Logging began as early as the 1920’s and reached its peak in the 1960s and 70s. Logging in the 1950’s and 1960’s generally involved cross-stream yarding and a complex network of non fish-friendly roads, despite the fact that the streams were known as salmon bearing.

The old harvesting practices left significant amounts of residual wood behind, leaving vast opportunities for salvage loggers. Decaying logging roads with collapsed culverts and bridges, coupled with cross spanning logging debris and residual shake spall from the salvage loggers has resulted in severely degraded fish habitat. Vast areas of the Kennedy Flats streams are literally plugged with woody debris affecting fish passage (creating barriers in many cases), water quality, and hydrology.

The high concentration of woody debris areas act as semi permeable dams, flooding large tracts of forest land. The water quality is especially poor during the summer months as the flood plain creates increased surface area for solar radiation, resulting in increased water temperature to near critical levels and lowers dissolved oxygen content. The flood plains create a poor growing site for conifer tree species, resulting in poor cover and further exacerbating the water quality problem. Slower water flow has failed to keep spawning beds clean of settled organics, making quality spawning sites the most limiting factor for fish production. Ironically, the clustered woody debris segments of the Kennedy Flats streams have resulted in the interception of natural large woody debris (LWD) recruitment, causing many segments of creeks between the debris clusters to be LWD deficient, resulting in lengthy sections of stream void of complex habitat features.

Kennedy Flats includes the traditional territory and treaty lands of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (TFN) and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nations (YFN). Tenure includes Parks Canada (PC), BC Parks (BCP), Tree Farm License 54, 57 and 44 held by Iisaak Forest Resources Ltd., the Regional District landfill site, and some small patches of private land owned primarily by Interfor and Weyerhaeuser.