Salmon spawning bed spread in Nanaimo stream

Salmon got another spot to spawn in Nanaimo's Millstone River this week.

Workers consult while spreading gravel in the Millstone River for a new coho salmon spawning bed. The 200 square metre bed was laid down near the Pryde Vista Golf Course Wednesday as part of a ongoing series of salmon habitat enhancement projects in the river.

Workers consult while spreading gravel in the Millstone River for a new coho salmon spawning bed. The 200 square metre bed was laid down near the Pryde Vista Golf Course Wednesday as part of a ongoing series of salmon habitat enhancement projects in the river.

Salmon got another spot to spawn in Nanaimo’s Millstone River this week.

About 300 tonnes of gravel was spread in the river Wednesday to create a 200-square-metre spawning bed near the Pryde Vista Golf Course.

Staff from the B.C. Conservation Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the city started work at about 7:30 a.m. as the specially blended gravel mix was trucked in and spread over the site.

“We’re going to dump the gravel in and then we’ll have a city mini-excavator build a pad to stand on, then start pushing the gravel around,” said Michelle Kehler, of the B.C. Conservation Foundation. “He’ll essentially be working piece by piece to create the pad.”

The work is part of ongoing enhancement projects in the 14-kilometre Millstone River designed to encourage coho salmon spawning. A similar spawning bed was added near Westwood Road in 2010.

With enhancements, the river can potentially produce an estimated 30,000 juvenile coho annually.

Costs for the project, including $7,000 for the gravel, are being covered by the Pacific Salmon Foundation, B.C.’s Living Rivers Trust Fund, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the City of Nanaimo.

Hazelwood Construction donated its trucking services to haul in the gravel.