We have committed $200,000.00/year to monitor and restore the Tranquil River in Tla-o-qui-aht Territory. Central Westcoast Forest Society (CWFS) installed a rotary screw trap which was in place from March 28 until early June. CWFS had over 100 volunteers come out to help them count fish daily! They identified, weighed, measured and re-release 1,255 Chinook, 4,882 Coho, and 21,046 Chum. Visible parasites, scars and deformities were also noted. In collaboration with Dr. Kristi Miller's lab, samples were collected for further disease and pathogen testing. Samples were also collected for stomach content analysis in both the river and the estuary in collaboration with Will Duguid' lab at the University of Victoria.
CWFS reported that the Chinook fry were fewer and smaller than they had initially hoped for, weighing in at roughly 0.5 grams. Similar to last year they also saw passive migration following big rain events, which can be indicative of limited access to floodplain habitat.
They started restoration on the upper side-channel in early July and were able to build 8 log structures in the side-channel to increase pool forming processes, creating deep cool refuge habitat for juveniles and adults. The log structures will also increase cover, shade, and add nutrients by slowing the water down to help finer organic material drop out of the water column and collect. These 8 structures will help increase the overall productivity of the side-channel and so to the watershed.
One log structure was built this summer in the main-stem of the river. This log structure is composed of 5 logs and extends roughly half way into the river, covering a pool roughly 2 m in depth. It provides a much-needed holding pool directly upstream of the prime Chinook spawning habitat and will help increase spawner success and decrease predation.
To accelerate the recovery of a vegetated gravel bar 8 bar-top structures were designed and installed. These structures will slow the force of the water reducing gravel mobilization and increasing deposition of sediment and smaller organic material over time. To further accelerate these processes 1,000 m2 of gravel-bar was live willow staked and 30,000 trees were planted!!!
Ocean Outfitters contributions are having a massive impact on the Tranquil watershed. The bulk of this years' funding was used for in-stream restoration in which CWFS completed 4,700 cubic meters of high priority rearing and spawning habitat. CWFS plan to do an additional 10 ha of riparian work this fall with our remaining remaining donation dollars.
This spring, the project provided full-time employment for 5 Tla-o-qui-ahr guardians for 2.5 weeks. This crew worked hard with willow stake collection, cutting, budeling, and preparation. There were also two CWFS/TFN field technicians who assisted with the rotary screw trap from March to June and intermittently throughout the two-week in-stream restoration project.
The fall restoration work will be able to provide more employment for TFN guardians when work on trails and fishing starts to slow down.