The Tzoonie River is located at the head of Narrows Inlet about 20 miles from Porpoise Bay in Sechelt. It is one largest and most productive river systems in the Sunshine Coast Forest District. In the past, the Tzoonie supported large runs of Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink and Sockeye salmon as well as regionally significant populations of Cutthroat , Dolly Varden, Rainbow and Steelhead trout. The Tzoonie produced salmon and trout by the hundreds of thousands and these fish contributed to the sport and commercial fishing industries which in turn supported the settlement of the Sunshine Coast region.
Almost a hundred years of intense timber harvesting has severely degraded the Tzoonies fisheries and other wildlife values. By 1994 when the Forest Practices Code came into effect, the Tzooni and Chickwat watersheds looked very much like the Chapman Creek watershed with a legacy of clearcuts, land slides and old often collapsing logging roads.
Today, the Tzoonie system is in recovery. Grizzlies have returned and remnant but viable populations of most historic runs still exist. This strongly indicates that, with careful management, the Tzoonie system could one day return to full productivity. The social, cultural, economic and environmental values of a restored Tzoonie River fishery are vastly greater than those of any other land use. For this reason, proposals for hydro electric projects in the Tzoonie River watershed should be very carefully scrutinized to ensure that the greater value of the fishery is not compromised in any way whatsoever.
To learn more about at risk fish species in the Tzoonie River, check out the status and habitat needs of Coastal Cutthroat, Dolly Varden and Steelhead trout on the BC Conservation Data Center
website. These species are blue-listed which indicates conservation concerns and declining population levels.
To view historical data about salmon and trout runs in the Tzoonie visit the BC Ministry of the Environment Fisheries Inventory Data Queries
website and search on "Tzoonie River."Photos: Top: Narrows Inlet as seen from the Tzoonie River estuary. Middle: Tzoonie River valley logging. Bottom: Ramona Lake, one of three lakes to be damned and bottom drilled to supply water for a "run of the river" hydro power generating station in Narrows Inlet. Photos by Bob Price.