Apple Springs Salmon Habitat Restoration Project for the Lower Bridge River

This 2-yr duration project constructed an off-channel salmon spawning and rearing channel in the Lower Bridge River. The project addressed the Habitat and Water Restoration and Stewardship priority activity of the FSWP. It was designed to mitigate some of the hydro impacts on St’át’imc fisheries resources. Bridge River salmon populations have been severely affected by the construction of the Terzaghi Dam and the operation of Carpenter Reservoir. The Terzaghi Dam blocked upstream salmon migrations and a number of populations were extirpated. This project, located in the Bridge River below the dam, may effectively mitigate some of the historic and present impacts. Several agencies including DFO, Xwisten and BC Hydro have investigated fish habitats and mitigation strategies in the Lower Bridge River. Feasibility studies have identified a number of habitat development projects in the Bridge River, including Applespring which has been rated as a good project. The project is designed to benefit Coho salmon primarily. During 2008, rearing ponds and a 400 m fish channel were excavated. A prefabricated Steel Baffles & Wing Type River Intake was installed with a flow control valve and 136 meter long by 400 millimeter diameter poly pipe in October 14, 2009 at the upstream end of the channel structure. . An infiltration gallery was installed beside the pipeline to capture groundwater seepage to augment the surface water inflow into this complex. The newly excavated channel was connected to the water intake and the channel became functional thereafter. Some shrubbery and tree cuttings were planted on the stream bank and Fall rye seed was planted and straw was placed along the banks of the channel for erosion control purposes and as mulch for the seeding. The straw will also provide a source of organic matter which will enter the channel via precipitation run-off. The aquatic community in the channel will equilibrate after several years of steady flow and input of organic matter.