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Chef Creek Habitat Restoration Project Warren Cook Property 2006 Environmental Services Sean Wong Sr. Environmental Biologist March 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Chef Creek Habitat Restoration Project Warren Cook Property 2006 Environmental Services Sean Wong Sr. Environmental Biologist March 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chef Creek Habitat Restoration Project Warren Cook Property 2006 Environmental Services Sean Wong Sr. Environmental Biologist March 2007

2 Warren Cook of Bowser is a landowner steward in action that deserves a lot of credit and recognition for his overall philosophy and approach to maintaining and enhancing the rich environmental values on his property. He, and his father previously, allowed and encouraged salmon research, assessment and restoration to take place on his property, owned by the Cooks since 1883, that contains three salmon streams and a rich foreshore and estuary along Baynes Sound. Warren manages the land with respect and high regard to conservation values. He has turned down lucrative development and subdivision overtures in order to maintain the environmental integrity of the site. Allowed construction of the Warren Cook sidechannel pond to Chef Creek in 1997 and subsequent intake installation in 1998 on his property by Ministry of Transportation, DFO and Fanny Bay Salmonid Enhancement Society (FBSES). While there is existing high quality fish and wildlife habitat, given previous anthropogenic disturbance and other areas that could be restored (e.g., invasive reed canary grass meadows), it presented an opportunity to do a large scale habitat enhancement project of 5,000m2+ primarily new wetted habitat, some enhanced wetted habitat and riparian restoration. Critical to this being possible was that the Cooks have overall protected and preserved the landscape from large permanent footprint impacts. Promotes, encourages and active with educational field tours, including with friends, family, stewardship groups, schools and government agencies. Warren and his father allowed full access to his property by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for stock assessment and research, including installation and monitoring of counting fences, Allowed full access and tolerated without complaint temporary disturbance of heavy equipment, materials and field crew during 32- day straight restoration project in 2006 designed and field supervised by Ministry of Transportation Environmental Services in partnership with Fanny Bay Salmonid Enhancement Society, DFO and others. Donated land to construct new habitats, including part of his lawn. Two perennial resident trout and anadromous salmon creeks, Chef Creek and Cabin Creek. Also contains part of Cook Creek which dewaters in the lower reach under low flows (NB: MOT environment are developing a restoration project to address this in the future, possibly in 2007-08). Streams, wetlands, estuary, foreshore, forested and riparian areas within the Cook property create excellent biodiversity area for species like coho and chum salmon, resident and anadromous rainbow and cutthroat trout, blacktail deer, cougar, beaver, mink, wolves, black beer, Roosevelt elk, amphibians, waterfowl and other migratory birds, raptors. Approved future plans, including access via his property to establish a self-sustaining pink salmon run on Chef Creek. Working with The Nature Trust of BC to establish a conservation covenant that will prevent future subdivisions (e.g., housing developments) to ensure continued sustainable land management with high regard to environmental conservation values for future generations.

3 Warren Cook, Landowner. Fourth generation Cook to hold title to rich fish and wildlife habitat area encompassing Chef and Cook Creeks and estuary. Allowed full site access for major habitat restoration project in 2006.


5 Excavation of rosebush pond near estuary.

6 Loading gravel truck with materials from excavated rosebush pond near estuary. Rock stockpiled at upstream end of pond for construction of Newbury weirs/riffles.

7 Constructing Newbury weir controls and spawning channel at inlet to estuary rosebush and lawn ponds.

8 Constructed Newbury weirs/riffles and spawning platform at inlet to estuary ponds. Rootwads, logs and boulders incorporated as habitat features.

9 Completed rosebush pond with inflow Newbury weirs and spawning platform.

10 Excavation of inter-tidal pond at lawn edge. Under extreme high tides, lawn is inundated.

11 Completed inter-tidal pond at lawn edge. Outlet provides constant outflow to create an all-tide wetted estuary channel.

12 Constructed Newbury weir at outlet of lawn pond acts as a control and flow diversion has enhanced an estuary channel by making it wetted during all tides.

13 Constructed Newbury weir on Chef Creek mainstem near estuary incorporates clean gravel for spawning and boulders and large woody debris for habitat complexity.

14 A portable gravel screener was mobilized to process about 3,000 m3 of gravel stockpiles extracted from Rosewall Creek to manufacture spawning gravel for Chef Creek. Fisheries and Oceans Canada staff Les Clint, Big Qualicum Hatchery and Mel Sheng, Resource Restoration donated the gravel and facilitated site access.

15 Placing manufactured spawning gravel about 0.4-0.5m deep to create spawning platforms in mainstem beside Cook house. Rock weirs hold gravel in place.

16 Chum salmon spawning on constructed spawning platform beside Cook house. Rock weirs hold gravel in place and backflood platform.

17 A rudimentary fishway and plywood weir at lower footbridge to increase head for Cook water supply was a barrier to weak swimming fish (e.g., sculpins), juvenile salmonids and trout passage.

18 Constructing a Newbury weir/riffle with a durable angular rock foundation and incorporating gravels to seal it to replace rudimentary fishway at footbridge.

19 Completed Newbury at footbridge provides aeration, improved fish passage and habitat complexity with spawning gravel and rock cluster.

20 28 tonne excavator bulk excavation with of two-island pond through invasive reed canary grass, meadow upstream of old rail line.

21 15 tonne excavator complexing two-island pond with large woody debris.

22 Completed two-island pond complexed with large woody debris.

23 Intercepting diffuse Cabin Creek, a first order tributary to Chef Creek, flow through canary grass with a headpond and defined channel to create new habitat and improve fish connectivity.

24 Constructing new Cabin Creek channel to inflow into constructed pond.

25 Excavating Cabin Creek pond.

26 Complexing Cabin Creek pond with large woody debris.

27 Constructed Cabin Creek pond outflows via a constructed spawning gravel riffle into larger two-island pond constructed through canary grass meadow. Blue plastic cages and stakes protect and support seedlings planted by Warren Cook, Sept. 2006. Larger 1 gallon stock planted by Fanny Bay Salmonid Enhancement Sonciety.

28 Chef Creek mainstem from railway culvert to Warren Cook Bridge had some gravel aggradation that was causing bank erosion and infilled habitat. Cook previously was dumping oyster shells, visible on far bank, and tied back a log, in an attempt to reduce the bank erosion.

29 A large rootwad was keyed into the bank to provide a bank revetment and habitat complexity.

30 Rootwad has mitigated bank erosion.

31 Chef Creek mainstem from railway culvert to Warren Cook Bridge had some gravel aggradation that was causing bank erosion and infilled habitat.

32 Gravel bars were removed, pools excavated and riffles were enhanced by constructing a thalweg toward the middle of the channel to create improved riffle-pool morphology along 80m of mainstem. This was the only creek section through Cook’s property that contained quality native spawning substrate.

33 Low-lying area prior to construction of sidechannel beside road across from Warren Cook Pond.

34 New sidechannel constructed beside road across from Warren Cook Pond.

35 Upstream view of spawning area of new roadway sidechannel.

36 Downstream view of inlet to new roadway sidechannel.

37 Beaver fencing (partially completed) installed at culvert outflow of original Warren Cook pond to mitigate active beaver dam building at culvert.

38 DFO engineered 15 cm Ø intake to Warren Cook Pond.

39 Inlet to Warren Cook Pond inundated with fines was poor spawning substrate.

40 12m long culvert to Warren Cook Pond was not required and daylighted to create additional spawning channel and pond habitat.

41 Culvert was daylighted and pond and channel constructed in its place.

42 Custom made spawning gravel placed at inlet to Warren Cook Pond.

43 Completed inlet pond and spawning channel to Warren Cook Pond.

44 Stewardship signage was erected given the site history and characteristics, ongoing educational and stewardship opportunities and environmental field tours that occur at the Cook property.

45 Kiosk Chef Creek Sign Proof.

46 Kiosk Stewardship Sign Proof.

47 Sample Media Articles from The Parksville Qualicum News, Comox Valley Echo and Comox Valley Record the property remains much the same as when the family first purchased it.PHOTO BY ralph shaw of constructed habitat pond By Ralph Shaw Oct 06 2006 The east coast of Vancouver Island is rife with the development of subdivisions. However the Chef Creek subdivision is different— it is for fish and wildlife instead of people. Back in 1883 Warren Cook, the current owner’s ancestors Ethrim Cook and Edgar Cook paddled a canoe from Nanaimo to purchase 500 acres of land at $1 an acre, establishing a homestead at the estuary lands and forest which comprised Cook Creek (that bears the family name) and Chef Creek where the family has lived for the past 123 years. When they came it was a towering first growth forest on the land side and life- pulsing estuary on the seaward side. As time went on the land was logged and a logging railroad once ran through the lower part of the property. The forest behind the subdivision is second growth, but the land is covered. I would guess that apart from minor changes in the early part on the history of the estuary, it must look very much like it did in 1883 because it is tidal swamp covered with grasses and small shrubs. When the land was first settled the estuary was home to thousands of coho each fall as they came to spawn in the small streams feeding the bay waters. It was also home to sea-run cutthroat and I suspect that Cook Creek had a few steelheads. It would also have been home to mink, otters, bears, wolves, deer, frogs, salamander and a complete assortment of birds that inhabit our wetlands from swans to tiny marsh wrens and humming birds. It still has all the potential to be a wildlife subdivision with all of the diversity of our coastal eco-systems. Over time probably the habitat for salmon and trout has suffered more disruption than space for other wildlife. Warren Cook and his family, and a host of government agencies and non-government groups, have banded together to make this rich little estuary a renewed place for coho, cutthroat and other salmonids. The development of any subdivision is an expensive proposition, especially when you have to move logs, create spawning areas, excavate pond areas, stabilize banks, restore lost gravel beds and create fish-friendly places in badly eroded environments. Much of the funding for this part of the work came from the Provincial Ministry of Transport under the enthusiastic direction of Sean Wong, Environmental Coordinator/Fisheries Biologist, whose special job is to help mitigate some of the fallout damage from highway construction projects. In partnership with Warren Cook and his family and others, they have created a tiny sanctuary in a coastline that is rapidly being developed for people at the expense of fish and other wildlife. I heard about this project through the enthusiasm of Judy Ackinclose in her tireless work for salmon enhancement in this part of the world. During the tour of the property I was strolling along an old trail when Bruce Cook (one of Warren’s sons) pointed out that we were walking along the old railroad grade. It was along this grade that Bruce and his brother Steven used to go as little boys, with simple willow poles, short lines, single hooks and worms to catch cutthroat trout in the small swamp pond they called a lake. It is still there today and is part of the subdivision waters. If there is a beaver around looking for a new home be will he welcome in this place. Through family agreement and vision for the future the subdivision will be placed under the protection of The Nature Trust of British Columbia so that it will always be this kind of place for fish and wildlife. The people of Baynes Sound and more broadly the East Coast of Vancouver Island have much to thank the Warren Cook family for this generous waterfront subdivision they have created for fish, wildlife and a better future for all. Well done. Biologist with the Ministry of Transportation, Sean Wong, indicates the area where Chef Creek has been split and lined with fresh spawning gravel. It’s part of a environmental effort to enhance fish habitat near the creek mouth and adjacent estuary. Fred Davies Photo By FRED DAVIES News Reporter Aug 22 2006 A large environmental project is underway in Deep Bay. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Transportation, the work is intended to enhance fish habitat in a portion of Chef Creek and improve the sustainability of an adjacent inter-tidal area. “It’s a pretty big project,† says biologist for the ministry Sean Wong, noting the involvement of groups that include local stream keepers and the Fanny Bay Salmonid Enhancement Society. “This is an all tide flow area and we’re doing some plumbing to bring water back into it.† Work on the approximately $45,000 project is expected to last for a couple of weeks. It involves weir building, creek bed improvements and the construction of at least two holding ponds with woody debris that will provide shade and cover improving the habitat for fish, particularly out-migrating fish fry. The project would not be possible without the cooperation of Warren Cook, owner of the property. The 87 acres has been in Cook family hands since the late 1800s. “Normally you would see houses, log booms, you name it,† says Wong. “This estuary is the best, most environmentally pristine, I’ve seen in the [area].† Cook, who runs an oyster lease on the property, says his aim has always been to protect his land from the incursion of development. “They clear cut here in about 1900,† says Cook. “My son and I have replanted and are trying to put it back. I’m pleased and proud with the work that’s being done here.† Cook adds he’s hopeful he might get a break on his property tax for the environmental enhancements being done. “They tell me the property is too valuable to get any benefits.† In one location the creek has been split and layered with gravel to provide new spawning areas. Plantings of riparian cover and the dredging of a channel to provide fresh inflows, across what until now has been a mudflat, is all part of the work being done. “When they’re done this will be a sight to behold,† says Cook. “It’ll be a fine and productive, instead of just a pretty, piece of property.† © Copyright 2007 Parksville Qualicum News SEAN WONG A project co-ordinator for the Ministry of Transportation explains work done on the north branch of French Creek to an assembled crowd gathered for a restoration site tour. By FRED DAVIES News Reporter Mar 27 2007 Stream stewards, Pacific Salmon Foundation members, provincial ministry representatives, local politicians and more were invited on a tour of local stream restoration sites last Friday. “Originally it was tour for the PSF who funded a lot of these projects. Sean Wong [project co-ordinator with the Ministry of Transportation] expanded the idea and decide to invite the world,” says Dave Davies community advisor for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “We wanted to showcase some of the bigger projects.” Designed to highlight some of the unheralded work being done in partnership across the region, the whirlwind tour stopped at sites that have seen channel modification, woody debris installation, water control work and more in various locations including Fanny Bay, French Creek and the Englishman River. The News met up with the contingent off Pratt Road in Whiskey Creek, site of a $50,000 restoration project last September. Excavation work on the north branch of French Creek removed gravel that led to sub-surface flows and caused flooding issues on a nearby roadway. “We tried to mimic a natural channel morphology that is fish friendly,” says Wong. “The stream was severely degraded and went dry in sections. This work has restored some of that year-round habitat.” Qualicum Beach councillor and chair of the town’s environment committee Barry Avis, says his research shows over $1 million of work has been done recently to improve watercourses right across the region, notably demonstrated by a large and continuing project along nearly three kilometers of the Englishman River. “It shows what all theses groups working together in unison can accomplish,” says Avis. Restoration work showcased

48 Tour photos courtesy of Dave Sands, Faye Smith, Judy Ackinclose, Katie Terhune and Sean Wong. Numerous Stewardship Tours, Public Education and Events including with the local MLA Hon. Scott Fraser, UBC Engineering, Pacific Salmon Foundation Directors and staff, agencies, MOT, FBSES and other stewardship groups and a Water Conference organized by the Oceanside Coalition

49 Chef Creek Habitat Restoration Project Warren Cook Property 2006 Environmental Services Sean Wong Sr. Environmental Biologist March 2007

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