salmon spawning

Brittain River

Aerial view of Brittain River Watershed

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Maximum estimated returns from 1947 to 2018 (retrieved from Department of Fisheries and Oceans, British Columbia) of Chum and Coho salmon species for Brittain River.

Maximum estimated returns from 1947 to 2018 (retrieved from Department of Fisheries and Oceans, British Columbia) of Pink salmon for Brittain River.

This watershed was logged extensively in the 1930’s and suffered a severe forest fire in 1951. Much of the spawning gravel was lost; the water was considered unstable and a bad run-off was noted in 1961. Peak escapements occurred in 1937 with 7,500 each of Chum and Pink and 1,500 Coho. Recent records (1983-2000) show that the maximum annual escapement for Coho was 1,100; the Pink maximum (1989-1998) was 2,500 and the Chum 1,500 (1990-2000).

In 1994, the terrain was mapped with evaluations of slope stability and hazard potential to aid in the development of forestry in the upper reaches of the watershed. Another report that year noted the logging related impacts to fish habitat and the requirement for remedial wildlife estuarine works and grizzly bear oriented riparian improvements.

According to the Sechelt Land Use Plan (Draft 2007), all of the Brittain River watershed is considered to have an extremely high cultural and spiritual value; and the key management issue is rehabilitation of fisheries values. A Preliminary Anadromous Salmonid Assessment (2008) conducted in the lower two reaches assessed those habitats as poor with opportunities for remedial work. In 2009, the river was nonetheless considered to be one of the major systems for Pinks and one of 36 Chum spawning streams identified within the Jervis Inlet Management Area, Statistical Area 16.

In addition, there are observations recorded for Dolly Varden, Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout and Steelhead. Steelhead were observed in the river in 1976 -77, and in 1979. As of 2004, this winter run was evaluated as an extreme conservation concern suggesting that it was at 10% or less of habitat capacity and likely to become extinct.

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