Coastal Restoration Fund: $904,010 Awarded Towards Salmon Stream Restoration in Tahsis and Zeballos.
The Nootka Sound Watershed Society (NSWS) is pleased to announce that the first phase of a 3 year riparian restoration project is complete. After having received $904 010 from the Government of Canada's Coastal Restoration Fund, the NSWS set to work on planning and implementing silviculture treatments on the Sucwoa River, near Tahsis BC. This project specifically targets the riparian reserves areas where modified stand treatments can accelerate the development of the riparian forest to provide old forest attributes earlier than would otherwise occur if left untreated. The NSWS hired Strategic Natural Resource Consultants (SNRC) to oversee the project with oversight from our governing board that includes Western Forest Products Ltd. Nineteen jobs were created and crews were comprised of local Tahsis, Gold River, Tsaxana, and Campbell River residents. Crews were trained on safe and effective riparian restoration techniques in January 2020, and carried out the work over the course of the next several months. Over 30 hectares of riparian area were treated by way of girdling, brushing, felling, planting, and wildlife tree creation. Approximately 1,200 Western Red Cedar and Sitka Spruce seedlings were planted in areas where conifers were lacking, and girdling occurred in areas where conifers and deciduous trees were dense in order to allow more light to reach the forest floor. Because second growth forest landscape generally lacks wildlife trees, tree climbers/arborists were employed to create such trees to promote biodiversity in the riparian ecosystem. Prior to the implementation of the Forest Practices Code in 1995, the areas directly adjacent to river and stream banks were logged. These areas called Riparian Zones are integral to the stability and health of a river or stream. In their natural state, riparian zones may contain several age classes of trees with each class contributing to important stream health factors including bank cohesion and in stream fish habitat. The treatments described above are intended to mimic the natural processes found along river banks and help accelerate the recovery of the streamside forests. Current forestry legislation requires riparian zones on only the largest stream classes to be left protected and in their natural state to prevent further degradation of this critical habitat that supports populations of Pacific Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout. Managing forests stands along all streams in this manner will ensure the long-term contribution of large wood to streams, aid in reducing eggs smothering sediments, and contribute organic matter for the insects which support stream food webs. Years 2-3 of the project will see similar treatments applied to five more rivers near the villages of Tahsis, Zeballos, Ehattis, and Oclucje. We thank the Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Nutchatlaht, and Ehattesaht First Nations for supporting these restoration activities within their Ha'ha'houlthee (collective territories).
We are grateful to the following groups for their contributions: Government of Canada Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nation Ehattesaht First Nation Nutchatlaht First Nation Strategic Natural Resource Consultants Western Forest Products Ltd. Nootka Reforestation Ltd.