The Bedwell River was chosen by DFO as one of the priority watersheds for Strategy 2 implementation of the Wild Salmon Policy. Strategy 2 outlines steps for the assessment of habitats within the different conservation units. Within the Bedwell River five different conservation units were identified including; Southwest Vancouver Island Chinook, Southwest Vancouver Island Chum, Clayoquot Sound Coho, West Vancouver Island Pink and West Vancouver Island Sockeye.
It was beyond the requirements of the project to analyze any raw or unpublished data but we were able to access and analyze existing data from online data bases and any existing habitat reports. It was determined that the most severe limiting factors in salmon production result from historic resource extraction practices and their associated lingering effects. From the late 1800’s to the mid 1970’s this watershed included 15 active mines as well as extensive river valley logging. The result of these practices have led to severe channel instability, which has led to an over widened channel within a vast floodplain. It has reduced the instream habitat complexity and water quality available to all life stages of salmon. Currently, the watershed is primarily held with 68% in Strathcona Provincial Park, 30% in Tree Farm License 57 with the remaining 2% held in private lands and Indian Reserves. Since 1974 all resource operations have been dormant and are unlikely to recommence in the near future.