San Juan and Gordon River Watersheds Habitat Status Report

, , , , ,

Executive Summary

Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy (WSP) was adopted in 2005 and has the overall goal to “restore and maintain healthy and diverse salmon populations and their habitats for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of Canada in perpetuity” (DFO 2005). Strategy 2 of the WSP involves the assessment of habitat status, and Step 1 of this assessment calls for a review available literature to document the characteristics and condition of habitat within a given Conservation Unit (CU). The purpose of this report was to provide a Strategy 2/Step 1 report summarizing the state of habitat within the San Juan and Gordon River Watersheds. The report will serve to provide guidance with respect to future restoration efforts by the San Juan Watershed Round Table. Specific objectives included: 1) summarize characteristics and condition of habitat in the study watersheds, 2) identify factors limiting fish production, and high value habitats needing protection, 3) select habitat indicators that can be used to monitor the ongoing status of habitat, 4) outline priorities for habitat protection, rehabilitation, or restoration, 5) outline data gaps in our ability to address the previous objectives.

The review drew upon a large number of reports made available by various members of the Round Table and collated and converted to digital format by the Pacheedaht First Nation. In addition, interviews were conducted with persons knowledgeable of the study watersheds. The characteristics and condition of habitat were summarized in terms of hillslope condition, riparian condition, channel condition, and estuarine condition. Following this, limiting and high value habitats were identified for each of the 5 Pacific salmon species. Wild Salmon Policy pressure and state indicators were selected that best address the issues identified with respect to habitat condition in the study watersheds. Lastly, recommendations were made as to the direction of future restoration efforts.