Elaho River Restoration Project in Partnership with Squamish Nation
West Coast Energy Fund, Fish Habitat Restoration Initiative
Pacific Salmon Foundation, Community Salmon Program
Historically, the upper Elaho River was utilized by Squamish Nation as a location to fish, particularly for Chinook salmon. Mobile summer camps were established annually by the Clendinning River. However, with the construction of the logging road in the early 1970's large boulders from the road blasting fell into the river creating an anadromous barrier. Anecdotal sightings of Chinook had been observed in the ensuing years (S. Rochetta, pers. comm., R. Lewis, pers. comm.).
The Elaho River (Watershed Code 900-097600-70400; FISS map #92J03; UTM 10 472269E 5550891N) has a length of 65 km and a watershed drainage area of 1,250 m2.
- Located 52 km upstream of the confluence of the Squamish River into Howe Sound.
- Two major tributary systems, Sims Creek and Clendinning Creek, discharge into the Elaho River.
- The watershed is within the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation and encompasses three Wild Spirit Places “Nsiiyx-nitem tl’a sutch (Upper Elaho), Nexw-àyantsut (Sims Creek) and Esté-tiwilh (West Squamish).
- Clendinning Provincial Park and Upper Elaho Valley Conservancy are also within the watershed.
For the 2017/2018 fiscal year, funding for the project was secured by Squamish Nation from Fish Habitat Restoration Initiative. Squamish Nation contracted the work to the SRWS with the following objectives:
- To conduct a baseline survey of the various obstructions (1, 2, & 3) including elevations, stream gradient, and extent of the obstructions.
- In consultation with DFO develop a plan to blast the rock obstruction or create an anadromous passage.
- Conduct aerial drone videography of the site prior to blasting to establish a video baseline.
- Monitor upstream and downstream of the obstruction for fish presence, water quality, eDNA sampling and summarize the results of the fish monitoring.
- Hire a rock blasting contractor to assess the limitations and opportunities within the Elaho River canyon and establish a timeline to conduct the blasting as agreed upon by all parties (Squamish Nation and DFO).
November 2017: The first year was spent working on the removal of the smaller rock to the side of the massive boulder. This was accomplished by surveying the site, meeting with the rock blasting company, Global Rock Works, and setting up the explosives to reduce the size of this smaller rock.
GIS Mapping and Videography
GIS mapping of the site was conducted and aerial drone videography by Coastal Photo Studios was collected. Observe the results below.