In 2011 the FSWP funded a series of 4 high priority streambank restoration projects located on the Bonaparte River using standard bioengineering methods to provide streambank stability and improved instream fish and aquatic habitat features. The sites are important Coho and Chinook spawning and rearing habitat. Rainbow trout including Steelhead also use the river system.1 The capacity for supporting these species is at risk, partially due to habitat degradation over the length of the River. Incremental loss of habitat quality and complexity reduces the capacity of the system to support these and other aquatic species. Prior to restoration instream values at the sites were compromised due to lost instream complexity, sediment loading, summer low flow, lack of riparian vegetation and unstable bedload in adjacent areas.
Similar bioengineering practices have been effective at other locations along the Bonaparte River, with over 100 locations restored during the past 10 years by the BWSS and its partners. The individual sites provide benefits in terms of sediment source control, instream fish habitat complexing and riparian planting activities for fish and other aquatic values as well as contributing to improved water quality and reduced impact to the land base during flooding. Completion of many individual restoration sites using similar methods has been shown on the Salmon River to have a cumulative effect benefitting not only the individual site features but also overall watershed heath. In addition the sites represent education opportunities to extend education and improve awareness of beneficial practices and the value of salmon and healthy salmon habitat.
1 As well as Pink salmon, Kokanee and other species