Nile Creek-Qualicum Bay Restoration and Enhancement
Reconnecting Coastal Cutthroat Trout and Salmon to Their Habitat
The Nile Creek – Qualicum Bay Restoration and Enhancement Program centered around six tributaries of Qualicum Bay on either side of Nile Creek: Thames Creek, Nash Creek, Ridgewell Creek, Black Brook, Westglade Creek, and Annie Creek. Nile Creek and these set of small streams flow into Qualicum Bay between the towns of Qualicum Beach and Bowser on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
The program, in conjunction with our partners the Nile Creek Enhancement Society and Vancouver Island University aimed to rebuild Coastal Cutthroat Trout habitat use in creeks and streams flowing into Qualicum Bay on Vancouver Island by re-establishing and improving access to portions of Coastal Cutthroat Trout habitat; from the inter-tidal area, through to the headwaters of six streams, and improving habitat in these streams. The project had a number of major accomplishments with respect to enhancing habitat and improving connectivity for salmonids, and engaging with the community and local stakeholders. New riffle and pool habitats were constructed on Thames Creek and Nash Creek to improve spawning and rearing habitat and off-channel habitats were created on Nash Creek to benefit juvenile rearing trout and provide low flow refuge. To restore connectivity for emigrating smolts, and improve connectivity to upstream habitats for spawning adults, riffles and baffles were constructed below and in culverts on Nash Creek, Annie Creek and Thames Creek. Additionally, a low-flow channel was constructed at the mouth of Nash Creek to ensure that smolts migrating out into Qualicum Bay would not be stranded in a portion of stream that tended to dewater during out-migration. Vancouver Island University students assisted with monitoring and assessment work on local streams both as part of habitat assessment and as part of a larger regional groundwater study. Trout Unlimited Canada also supported the Nile Creek Enhancement Society who worked with the local water board towards maintaining groundwater resources for both people and the environment. During the project, the project team held several workshops and planning meetings which were successful in engaging local residents in the project and a set of environmental management plans for riparian health and groundwater resources in the area.
Partners and Sponsors
This project was completed with the help of many partners and sponsors including the Nile Creek Enhancement Society, Vancouver Island University, the RBC Blue Water Fund, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans – Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program, BC Ministry of Transportation, The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, The Pacific Salmon Foundation, and The W.C. Kitchen Family Foundation.