Habitat haven for juvenile salmon on the North Shore

three people stand beside Lynn Creek

The Community Salmon Program is accepting grant applications for local, community-led salmon stewardship projects until Oct. 15, 2023.

A salmon-bearing creek in the North Shore that has suffered from troubling drought conditions for several years received a significant makeover this summer to improve habitat for juvenile salmon.

Lynn Creek in North Vancouver supports coho, pink, and chum salmon, as well as steelhead. In August, the North Shore Streamkeepers restored a side channel located about 450 metres upstream of the Lynn Creek Bridge by adding an engineered log jam to maintain water flows that juvenile salmon rely on for survival as they grow and prepare to migrate to the ocean.

“We are trying to make the creek ‘wild’ again. Young salmon use log jams to feed, rest, and avoid predators,” says Tim Green, a North Shore Streamkeepers member who has volunteered with the group for seven years.

Tim Green, a volunteer with the North Shore Streamkeepers, supervises habitat restoration work at Lynn Creek in August. (Photo: Braela Kwan)

Recently, the side channel has been clogged by gravel, stranding salmon in isolated pools in the summer, especially during drought times when water flows are low. The new engineered structure made from logs and boulders will prevent this problem by redirecting water into the side channel to ensure continuous flow and prevent excessive gravel buildup.

Additionally, log jams provide shade, cool water, and bugs – features that young salmon need to survive.

Thanks to a $25,000 donation from Seaspan, the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Community Salmon Program awarded the North Shore Streamkeepers two grants totalling more than $16,000 to advance this crucial side channel restoration work at Lynn Creek. The remaining funds will help to boost community-led salmon conservation projects in the fall grants round.

“Seaspan proudly supports the Pacific Salmon Foundation to advance the critical efforts of local streamkeepers and habitat experts in their work to conserve local ecosystems and biodiversity,” says Peter Lister, Senior Vice President of Development Services at Seaspan. “The new log jam at Lynn Creek will greatly improve habitat quality at the side channel for salmon and other wildlife for years to come.”

North Shore Streamkeepers toured PSF and Seaspan around the Lynn Creek site in September. From left to right: Jim Shinkewski (PSF), Jeff Giesbrecht (PSF, Board Chair), Peter Lister (Seaspan, PSF Board), Adrian Byrne (Seaspan). (Photo: Linda Aylesworth and John Christie)

The North Shore Streamkeepers worked with Northwest Hydraulic Consultants and the British Columbia Institute of Technology to develop and execute the restoration plan. They used a specialized excavator to pick up logs and boulders and place them strategically to form the log jam.

The side channel restoration came together thanks to support from various partners, including government agencies, environmental groups, and commercial interests that donated money, materials, and/or labour to the project.

The specialized excavator creates the log jam. (Photo: Braela Kwan)

(Photo: Linda Aylesworth and John Christie)

The Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Community Salmon Program has supported the North Shore Streamkeepers since 2007 with more than $150,000 in grants for salmon habitat restoration work at Lynn Creek, Mosquito Creek, and MacKay Creek.

The Community Salmon Program awards grants to local, community-led salmon conservation, enhancement, and habitat restoration projects across British Columbia and the Yukon. Successful projects have included salmon habitat restoration, aquatic monitoring and research, climate change response initiatives, hatcheries, and educational programming and awareness.

The Community Salmon Program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2023 cycle until Oct. 15, 2023. Apply here.

The Community Salmon Program accepts new applications each spring and fall. The federal Salmon Conservation Stamp, a decal which anglers purchase with their saltwater fishing licence that enables them to keep any species of wild salmon, is the primary funding source for the program. PSF proudly stewards 100 per cent of the proceeds from the Salmon Conservation Stamp on behalf of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to advance hundreds of local salmon conservation projects each year.

The Community Salmon Program is also supported by generous individuals and corporations, including: Mosaic Forest Management, Neptune Terminals, Paper Excellence, Pembina, Seaspan, Secure Energy, and Sutherland Foundation Inc. Interested supporters can contact PSF’s Senior Development Manager Cory Matheson at cmatheson@psf.ca.