Eelgrass in Porpoise Bay, BC.

Chapman Creek

Aerial view of Chapman Creek Watershed

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(If you have Google Earth installed on your computer,
you can click the link above to open a placemarker for this watershed.)

Maximum estimated returns from 1947 to 2018 (retrieved from Department of Fisheries and Oceans, British Columbia) of Chum salmon for Chapman Creek.

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

Chapman Creek reaches the Georgia Strait at Davis Bay in Sechelt and is thought to have been one of the largest salmon producing streams on the Sunshine Coast prior to European contact in the mid-1800s. According to the Strategic Land Use Plan for the shishalh Nation (Draft 2007) this watershed has significant spiritual and cultural importance. It is also the source of drinking water for approximately 27,000 people. The will of the shishalh people and the Sunshine Coast Regional District for the management of this watershed is expressed in the Joint Watershed Management Agreement of 2005.

Since 1947, peak escapements for Coho, Pink and Steelhead have numbered in the hundreds. The peak number for Chum was 3500 spawners in 1973 and again in 1974. It is likely that the numbers for the Pink and Chum were much higher before the main creek mouth at the Wilson Creek estuary was diverted to its present outlet at Davis Bay in 1936.

Between 1967 and 1992, extensive logging and road building over unstable slopes caused over 300 landslides and road failures which impacted both drinking water quality and fisheries values. An Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP) was completed in 1998 but was never implemented.

Chapman salmonids have also been negatively impacted by SCRD water withdrawals during late summer low flow periods. In 1999, a fish habitat and riparian assessment was conducted for the BC Ministry of Environment in conjunction with the Chapman Creek Watershed Restoration Project. A Coastal Watershed Assessment Procedure was completed by International Forest Products (Interfor) in 2000. It assessed the effects of past forest practices and provided recommendations for future forestry development. Also that year, Chapman Creek was one of only 15 streams designated as sensitive under the BC Fisheries Protection Act. Interfor abandoned this chart area in 2002.

Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden were introduced before records were kept; Coho and Cutthroat were stocked in the late 1980s. Beginning in the early 1990s the Sunshine Coast Salmon Enhancement Society stocked Pink, Chum, Coho, Cutthroat, Steelhead and introduced Chinook. The stocking of Cutthroat was discontinued to ensure the survival of salmon fry and smolts. The Greater Georgia Basin Steelhead Recovery Action Plan of 2002 identified the stock status of both winter and summer Steelhead runs as a special concern. In 2004, during an enumeration of the Steelhead a total of only 2 adult Cutthroat were observed.

Chapman Creek is now regularly stocked with salmon fry. Returns have been disappointing and it is not clear that there are any wild self-sustaining salmon stocks left in this watershed.

In this Section

  • What are Forage Fish and Why are they important?
  • Forage Fish Sampling
  • Forage Fish Sampling on the Sunshine Coast
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