Groups team up to install Storey Creek fish culvert

Courier-Islander (Campbell River)
Published: May 6, 2009

Salmon and trout should be able to access a huge habitat area at the Storey Creek Golf Club thanks to a culvert replacement project earlier this year involving the golf course, DFO and the Campbell River Salmon Foundation (CRSF).

“It was about a year ago that Storey Creek approached me and said they wanted to replace the culvert,” explained DFO’s Rick Senger, habitat management technologist. “There’s a series of large ponds that were excavated when the golf course was built and it’s created acres and acres of habitat. Adult trout have gotten into them, and the potential for rearing of coho is huge, but I don’t think they could access it. The culvert was a barrier to the movement of juvenile coho. The gradient was too steep and they would have to make a jump.

“The golf course had a limited budget to do this job. We were trying to figure out a good way to do it without spending a whole bunch of money and hadn’t really come up with a solution, and one day I was talking to Mike (Gage) about it and he said ‘would it help if Campbell River Salmon Foundation contributed some funds?'”

So the Storey Creek fairway No. 12 fish passage project was soon under way. CRSF provided about one-third of $10,000 cost and brought in their engineer/site supervisor Gordon Lawrence (Gordon Lawrence Consulting) and David Banks of Westmore Excavating to do the work. The two have worked on many other salmon enhancement projects in the area.

“They’re a hell of a team,” Gage said. “We’ve been using them for years.”

Working in January, so as not to disturb fish or golfers, the team installed the 24-metre, 0.9-metre diameter culvert in place of the old one. It’s larger, imbedded deeper, and contains gravel with aluminium baffles to hold the gravel in place.

“Now we’ve got a structure there that works beautifully,” Senger said. “It keeps the pond at a nice elevation and full of water all year round.

“The gravel breaks up the current enough so that even a small coho fry wouldn’t have any difficulty swimming from one end to the other. There’s even potential that fish could spawn inside.”

“It’s first class,” Gage said. “And it’s a high profile one for us, for people to walk past there and see who was working in partnership.”

The golf course representatives are pleased with the project as well.

“We’re pretty aware of our environment around here and over the years, from construction on, we’ve built a history of working with Fisheries,” said Rob Watson, golf course superintendent.

“It got expanded this past year to work with the Campbell River Salmon Foundation as well.

“We just want to make sure that our creeks are maintained in a way that’s environmentally sensitive and benefits the fish population.

“Just putting a small pipe through there wasn’t going to cut it. We had to make sure that when fish were trying to pass through, it was a proper grade that they could do it, that it was done right.”

© Courier-Islander (Campbell River) 2009, reproduced with permission