Gates Creek Spawning Habitat Improvement

Gates Creek supports important summer sockeye and interior coho salmon stocks, both of which are declining due to poor marine conditions and impaired freshwater productivity. This stream is also spawning and rearing habitat for Bull and rainbow trout residing in Anderson Lake. The watershed partners have identified three key factors in declining salmon productivity: deterioration of the quality of the spawning gravel within the Gates Creek spawning channel, poor access for returning spawners to upper Gates Creek spawning grounds due to an in stream weir associated with the channel, and an inability to manage spawners at the counting fence in the stream such that adequate spawners can access both channel and river spawning grounds upstream. Consequently, this FSWP project was undertaken to:

¨ Construct rock riffles just downstream of a concrete weir that presently impedes upstream migrating salmon.

¨ Add spawning gravels to the Gates Creek spawning channel.

¨ Construct improved counting and diversion facilities

The rock riffles were deposited downstream of a weir structure in Gates Creek and were observed to facilitate salmon passage at low – medium flow levels. The riffles will be observed under high discharge conditions when coho are migrating upstream. If necessary, adjustments to the boulder positioning will be made and additional stockpiled boulders will be added to the Creek next spring.

In conjunction with BCRP, the gravel at the Gates Creek spawning channel was replaced and the facility has been rejuvenated with appropriately sized sockeye gravel. This will lead to improved egg:fry survival and an overall increase in Gates sockeye production.

Due to budgetary constraints, it was only possible to initiate the improvement of fish sorting and counting facilities via site visits and discussion with SEP personnel. This component of the work will be proposed for FSWP funding in 2010- 2011.