|Squamish Watershed Society||
The Maquam River: From Ice Field to Ocean
The Mamquam River is a glacial fed river with its headwaters 1600m above the Howe Sound.
As it flows Skookem Creek, Ring Creek, and Mashiter Creek, and many other smaller tributaries drain into the Mamquam River.
Originally the Mamquam River flowed directly into the Howe Sound, where the Mamquam Blind Channel, in downtown Squamish is now located.
To allow for the development of downtown Squamish the Mamquam River was redirected by a dyke built at the north end of Loggers Lane near Brennan Park Recreation Center.
This dyke trained the river to flow under Highway 99, and drain into the Squamish River, before entering the Howe Sound. While diversion of the river allowed for the Community of Squamish to develop, critical salmon spawning habitat dried out,
Mamquam River Dyke Cuts of Critical Salmon Habitat
Without the flow of the Mamquam River, tidal estuary channels in and around Loggers Lane dried up.
Salmon swimming up the Mamquam Blind Channel, after years at sea, met nothing but dead ends in their pursuit to spawn.
The streams, ponds, and wetlands in this area also provided over wintering, and rearing habitat for coho, chinook, pink, chum salmon, as well steelehead trout to grow and prepare for their years at sea.
In the Squamish Salmon Recovery Plan, lack of access to this type habitat was outlined as a critical limiting factor in Squamish salmon populations.
Starting in 2005 the SWS led the Mamquam Reunion Project to reconnect the Mamquam River and the Mamquam Blind Channel, and restore tidal estuary channel, streams, ponds, and wetlands in this flood plain.
The Mamquam River Reunion Project
In 2005 the SWS worked with land owners in the Loggers Lane area, the Squamish Nation, District of Squamish, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Ministry of Water Land and Air Protection, Environment Canada, and the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project on the development of a river reunion plan.
Later that year a culvert and flood gate was installed to allow a controlled amount of water from the Mamquam river through the dyke, directing water toward the Mamquam blind channel.
Since 2005 a series of culverts have been installed that now allow the Mamquam River to flow into the Mamquam Blind Channel just north of Squamish's Adventure Center.
With water flowing again the SWS, Squamish students, and community volunteers restored of more then 50,000 square meters of channels, ponds, and wetland habitat in this area. Salmon, and other wildlife are now thriving in these urban streams.