Resource: Lower Coquitlam River Fish Habitat and Flooding Assessment
Authors / Publisher: Tanis Douglas for Watershed Watch Salmon Society and the Kwikwetlem First Nation
A hydro dam, urban and agricultural development, and dikes have drastically altered the Coquitlam River. Adjacent gravel pits are also believed to be long-term negative influences. Off-channel habitat restoration projects have been undertaken in recent decades to improve conditions for fish. However, restoration work on the lower river (defined here as the 6.5 kilometres between the CP Rail Bridge and the river mouth) has been limited. For this project, the Kwikwetlem First Nation and Watershed Watch
Salmon Society facilitated a restoration assessment of the lower river, with the following goals:
- Develop working relationships. Working relationships between the interests and stakeholders in the Lower Coquitlam River are necessary to enable restoration work to proceed.
- Develop restoration prescriptions. The main deliverable of this project was a set of restoration prescriptions to enable habitat restoration (mainly but not exclusively for fish) to be carried out in the short and longer-term.
A total of 14 recommendations were developed and included in the report as a result of an assessment of the mainstem of the river, offchannel and riparian areas, and drainage on Colony Farm. A project conclusion meeting was held to discuss these recommendations with the various groups and institutions. A budget was developed to address some of these recommendations in the near term.
Many individuals participated in and guided this project. George Chaffee, Glen Joe and Nancy Joe from the Kwikwetlem First Nation provided a vision for a healthy lower river, and hosted two gatherings of all the interested groups and agencies. Craig Orr from Watershed Watch supported and guided the project. BC Hydro (Dave Hunter) provided necessary reports and data. Further project funding was provided by the City of Coquitlam, as was GIS data. David Sellars from Water Management Consultants provided technical expertise relating to dikes and flooding and also participated in the assessment of conditions in the mainstem river. The discussions of dike conditions and of flood flows in this report come from David Sellars. Matt Foy from Fisheries and Ocean’s Canada provided critical expertise and recommendations. Tony Matahlija from the North Fraser Salmon Assistance Society and Dave Bennie from Maple Creek Streamkeepers provided field accompaniment and local knowledge. The Greater Vancouver Regional District (Frieda Schade and Alison Evely) provided extensive information relating to Colony Farm, and also provided GIS services. Pat Slaney from PSlaney Aquatic Science Ltd. provided expertise on large woody debris installation, including design drawings. 25 individuals from 16 organizations participated in gatherings for this project and lists of these groups and individuals are provided in Appendices 1 and 2.