Mainstem river fish habitat restoration projects have been conducted in a number of impacted watersheds
across the Lower Mainland/South Coast of British Columbia by the BC Conservation Foundation Fisheries
Recovery Program. The primary habitat restoration methods used to improve juvenile fish rearing habitat was
the Large Woody Debris (LWD) engineered style log jam, and side-channel re-connections. This FSWP project
was funded to assess the biological performance, and structural integrity of the restoration projects. Rather
than attempting to evaluate all restoration projects, a sub-set of projects was deemed practical. In the Fraser
Valley, the Alouette and Chehalis River, and the Silverhope Creek have been selected (Appendix I – Map).
Using fish habitat restoration effectiveness monitoring industry guidelines, LWD structures, and select control
sites were evaluated to determine fish abundance using underwater snorkel survey methodology. The key focus
was enumerating juvenile steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) at
treated (restored), control (un-restored), and where available, natural wood controls (natural wood). This
involved summer day-time, and winter night-time snorkel survey assessments, conducted to capture data
representing seasonal habitat use variability. Snorkel surveys were conducted between August through
October, 2010 for summer evaluations, and February, 2011 for winter evaluations. Overall, underwater snorkel
survey observations indicate a high salmonid fish use at wood restored sites, as well as natural wood sites,
relative to the controls with no wood present (refer to section 3.2 “Effectiveness” for study results).
Additionally, a side-channel mark and re-capture juvenile salmonid population estimate was conducted on one
of two re-connected side-channels in the Silverhope Creek.
Large Woody Debris structural performance (habitat development) was rated using a standardized
methodology. Of all 75 LWD restored sites that were evaluated, 94% and 92% are at or above the “meets
expectations” criteria ranking for “pool development and gravel deposition” and “fish habitat cover”,