Salmon River Watershed Monitoring Project

In the final year of the FSWP program the Salmon River Watershed Roundtable was fortunate to be sponsored to complete an inventory and assessment of 300 streambank restoration sites undertaken since 1992 at various locations within the watershed. The sites collectively form a 20 year history of cooperative behaviour change supported through sponsorship by many funders, as well as contributions of in-kind materials and labour, volunteer effort, landowner cooperation and technical support from many sources. The SRWR managed to keep partners at the table to complete these undertakings using watershed based consensus planning and by developing win-win approaches year after year as funding permitted. Over its life the FSWP consistently supported the SRWR contributing toward completion of nearly half of these restoration sites. The 2011 monitoring project results indicate not only site-by-site success but also a cumulative watershed scale improvement in streambank stability and riparian health. The general acceptance of bioengineering methods introduced proactively by DFO beginning in 1992 over past practices suggests a willingness to follow beneficial practices such as controlling livestock access, re-development of riparian buffers and stabilizing eroding streambanks with natural features to create improved fish habitat values and protect valuable farmland from erosion.

Individual site conditions as of 2011 were compared with pretreatment conditions by scoring structural integrity, hydraulic function, riparian vegetation regeneration, and fish habitat features. An individual site summary and map sheet series was assembled in a GIS mapping database to document this success. These results will be formally presented at the anniversary of the SRWR in 2013, marking success in one of several key watershed sustainability goals established by the SRWR in 1993 and signals that other key goals from the 20-200 year watershed sustainability plan such as improving water management can also be achieved similarly through cooperative partnership.