Salmon River Watershed Restoration and Monitoring Project
The direct objective of the project was to complete an additional 22 riparian and streambank restoration sites to improve fish and fish habitat and promote human education, participation and behaviour change within the context of a long term, watershed scale riparian and streambank restoration program. The long term goal is to reverse a 130 year historical trend of stream and streambank degradation and fish habitat loss marked by lost riparian vegetation, severely eroding streambanks, high summer temperatures, declining salmon stocks and other issues on the Salmon River. A series of 13 watershed sustainability goals and objectives developed from a consensus planning process include an objective of restoring riparian health. Completion of these 22 sites extends a community driven effort ongoing now for 17 years toward a landscape level threshold of success. The 22 restoration sites reported here were completed during the 2009-2010 project cycle as planned using approaches that are now very familiar to the SRWR and local landowners with funding and resources from FSWP, CP, MOT, AAFC, FRISP, landowners and others. Fish habitat improvement was achieved was in terms of streambank structure, planted areas, instream complexity, scour pool, invertebrate micro-habitat availability, decreased sediment inputs, as well as human behaviour change demonstrated in terms of willingness to participate and acceptance of current standards.
Perhaps more important than the completion of the 22 fish habitat improvement sites is that these 22 sites bring the cumulative accomplishment to approximately 60% of the originally intended riparian restoration goal set out in 1995 with over 300 sites now restored and the majority of the worst sites in the lower watershed now improved, This year marks a need to shift emphasis from the lower river where most of the streambank issues existed in 1995 (from Salmon Arm to Schwebs Bridge) to the upper watershed (from Schwebs Bridge to Westwold and upsteam) where most of the remaining seriously eroding sites remain. We are approaching a finish to the period of intensive streambank restoration activity on the lower Salmon River which has been a main driver for SRWR activity since 1991. This is a remarkable accomplishment and monitoring completion of the next 20% of the outstanding restoration goal will offer the opportunity to document a system-wide change in human perception and riparian condition while emphasis on intensive streambank restoration activity shifts upstream.