The primary objective of the recovery plan is to stabilize and restore wild steelhead stocks and habitats to healthy self-sustaining levels. A secondary objective is to maintain and restore angling opportunities, which benefit both local communities and the provincial economy. While the focus is on steelhead, this initiative will have significant benefits for other species of salmon and trout.
Declines in steelhead abundance have been caused by sharply reduced ocean survivals combined with impaired freshwater habitat capability. Wild stocks in most systems will not recover unless their freshwater productivity can be significantly increased to compensate for reductions in marine survival.
Recent advances in research and development have shown that a combination of habitat restoration and stream enrichment (in selected watersheds) can increase freshwater productivity sufficiently to reverse declines in abundance.
The Provincial Government to passed “a Living Rivers Act” to protect and improve BC’s river systems with scientifically-based standards for watershed management, enhancements to fish habitat, and a 10-year program to correct past damage. Greater Georgia Basin wild steelhead stocks would appear to be very high priority candidates
under this initiative.
The British Columbia Conservation Foundation recognized the potential for future funds through the Living Rivers Act and developed the Greater Georgia Basin Steelhead Recover Plan in September 2002. A copy of this plan can be found at http://www.bccf.com/steelhead/pdf/Steelheadreport092702.pdf
The Alouette Watershed was selected as one of the lower mainland watershed that could possibly benefit from further studies to bring back steelhead to its former abundance of steelhead.
ARMS has been working with the BCCF, assisting in float surveys, LWD Placement and other projects that they find are required. ARMS is also working with the BCCF on steelhead initiatives in the Upper Pitt Watershed. Work being completed through the Steelhead Recovery Initiative in complimented by our work on Sockeye Restoration.