Grant supports fish habitat

Wayne Harling of the Nanaimo and District Fish and Game Association shows some of the bank erosion remediation work done in Haslam Creek. - CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin
Wayne Harling of the Nanaimo and District Fish and Game Association shows some of the bank erosion remediation work done in Haslam Creek.
— image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

ame Protective Association can start planning its next round of Haslam Creek restoration, thanks in part to a Pacific Salmon Foundation grant.

The $8,500 grant, announced in July, is part of a $27,000 habitat assessment to determine the next step in ongoing efforts over the past several years to repair erosion to the banks and bed of the creek.

The association has been commissioning habitat assessments and carrying out work to stop erosion in the creek with money raised by the club and funding from the foundation, Nanaimo Airport Commission and other groups.

Dave Clough, registered professional biologist, said the creek is broken up into one-kilometre sections that are individually assessed to determine the needed restoration methods. His group is working on an area from the Nanaimo River up to the Island Highway.

“That’s probably four kilometres of fish habitat right there…” Clough said. “This is the spot where they’re going to go first to live, to spawn, to eat and everything else that they would do coming up from the Nanaimo River.”

The roots of old growth trees growing on stream banks act to hold and harden the soil and slow or prevent erosion.

Haslam Creek’s banks eroded heavily over the decades since old growth forest was cut down.

Modern restoration techniques include anchoring roots and stumps to boulders, shoring up the banks.

The next phase of work will be in a reach that continues northeast through Nanaimo Airport land once the assessment is complete.

"And by the way, it's full of fish," Clough said. "Haslam Creek has steelhead, cutthroat, coho, pinks, chinook. It just about has one of everything in it, so it's a really worthwhile stream to be doing this work in. It is the biggest salmon-bearing tributary in the Nanaimo River. If we could restore it to its prime, we would make a huge difference on the salmon numbers in that watershed."

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