Central Estuary Restoration Project Summer 2020 Update
The Squamish River Watershed Society (SRWS), in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Squamish Nation, are overseeing the Central Estuary Restoration Project to improve fish access between the Squamish River and the central estuary. Under the project in 2019 one of the fish obstructing culverts along the Training Berm (Spit Road) was successfully replaced with a fish friendly concrete box culvert. Plans for this summer are to replace a second culvert further downstream. This project is important to improve access to the critical rearing habitat in the estuary for out-migrating juvenile salmon, particularly Chinook salmon.
The Central Estuary Restoration Project is a multi-phased / multi-year project that was developed to address the decline of Chinook salmon populations in the Squamish River watershed. The project includes three phases: culvert upgrades along the Training Berm; realignment of the lower section of the spit; and re-connection of tidal channels in the east estuary across the rail spur line that services the Squamish Terminals. The project is being developed in consultation with the project working group comprised of 30+ community, industry and government agency representatives. Concurrent to the culvert upgrades along the Training Berm, the project team is also focused on planning and assessment for spit realignment along with designing flow control structures across the spur line.
Discussions and technical assessment informing the spit realignment phase of the project is ongoing. The original plan to start work on the spit realignment as early as this year has been extended, and is now being considered for future years as solutions are being explored to provide an alternative route by which wind sport users can access the southern launch site of the Spit. To allow needed time for spit realignment planning, construction efforts for this year will instead focus on continuing to replace culverts along the Training Berm that are obstructing fish passage.
The project team is working closely with the Squamish Windsport Society, Province of BC and District of Squamish to develop construction plans for the culvert replacement for this summer. In preparation of the culvert replacement, in the coming weeks the site will be surveyed along with a geotechnical investigation at the culvert upgrade site. The road will remain open during survey and geotechnical investigation. Temporary road closures of the Spit Road are anticipated in mid-late August for culvert placement, more details on this will be provided in the coming weeks.
The SRWS is a charitable non-profit that takes a holistic approach to watershed management and has been leading habitat restoration and stewardship initiatives in partnership with government, First Nations, community and industry stakeholders since 1998. For more information please visit: www.squamishwatershed.com/cerp
The Squamish River Watershed Society (SRWS), formed in 1998, takes a holistic approach towards watershed management, examining the headwaters down to the estuary and into Howe Sound. We are committed to enhancing and preserving the integrity of the Squamish Watershed, focusing on key environmental factors and human influences.