Fisheries and Oceans Canada
BC Ministry of Environment
Squamish Nation
Recovery Programs

Recovery Programs make up the second major component, behind Monitoring Programs, of the Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Plan. Recovery programs are the more visual projects that work to increase the carrying capacity, or number of fish the river can hold. By implementing enhancement and restoration projects, it is believed that fish populations may recover quicker and be more resilient to changes.

The Cheakamus River is a high velocity, turbulent river prone to flooding and channel migrations. Projects that affect the physical make-up of the river must be undertaken with professional expertise and understanding of potential effects. Engineering design and modeling are often required and take many months to years to develop strong projects that target species of interest and will function as fish habitat for many years.

Fish Culture Program

Fish culture is being used for a short period of time to increase fish numbers during the years that populations are expected to be low. These CN funded programs are implemented in co-operation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the BC Ministry of Environment and are designed to supplement wild populations, not replace them. Over the course of six years, the focus of the fish culture program will be chinook, pink, coho and steelhead and include upgrades to the Tenderfoot and Fraser Valley hatcheries. The Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery has installed a heated water incubation system in 2006 and the Tenderfoot Hatchery will be installing new chillers and upgrading additional equipment for incubation in 2007.

Steelhead Fish Culture Update - September 23, 2008 (pdf)
General Fish Culture Update - August 8, 2008 (pdf)
General Fish Culture Update - June 28, 2007 (pdf)
General Fish Culture Update - May 3, 2007 (pdf)

Chinook - Currently rearing 87,645 egg/fry in 2008/2009.

Pink - Off year. Released 467,533 in spring 2008.

Coho - Rearing 77,606 fry for release spring 2009. Targeting collection of 80,000 in fall 2008.

Steelhead - Program complete. Released 17,588 in spring 2008.

Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Fund

As one element of CN's Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Plan, CN has established the Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Fund to complement ongoing recovery efforts and encourage the construction of enhancement projects on the Cheakamus River by local residents and environmental stewardship groups. Other large-scale enhancement and construction projects will continue to be developed and implemented by CN. For more information and application forms, please visit the Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Fund page.

Cheekye Bridge Fish Passage Modification

The Cheekye River facilitates passage of steelhead from the Cheakamus River to Brohm Creek, an important steelhead spawning location. The CN railway bridge spanning the Cheekye River has a concrete apron which has been identified by some as a potential obstacle to steelhead migrating upstream to the spawning grounds at Brohm Creek.

CN has undertaken investigation of the Cheekye River bridge abutments and determined that additional bridge protection measures are required for the abutments before the concrete apron can be removed. Surveying has been completed of the stream channel and surrounding area and this information is being used to design the corrective measures. Over the next few months, engineers will be working on design options and CN will submit the project to the environmental agencies for permitting. Construction is planned for lower flows in the instream work window of late summer 2007.

Cheekye River Fish Passage Improvement Project Final Report 2007,
April 2008

Km 8 Side Channel

This site is located just upstream from the North Vancouver Outdoor School on a side channel of the Cheakamaus River. CN completed the re-wetting and channel enhancement at this location in 2008. Works included the development of a 550m linear length channel with an estimated area of 2200 square metres of wetted fish habitat.

KM 8 Side Channel Re-watering Project 2008 Final Report (pdf)
KM 8 Side Channel Re-watering Project 2008 Appendices (pdf)
KM 8 Restoration Brochure - Brackendale Fall Fair, 2008 (pdf)
Designs: Preliminary Km 8 Re-Wetting Designs - June 2007 (pdf)

Swift Creek

The Stakeholder Team suggested CN consider ways to reduce fish stranding at the lower reach of Swift Creek. During low water levels, Swift Creek flows subsurface and dries up the stream channel and natural pools resulting in fish stranding. CN has completed an initial reconnaissance of the area and further investigations are underway by DFO for a potential project through the Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Fund.

Km 6.5 Channel Re-Wetting

Joint assessments of the Cheakamus River in 2007 with CN, DFO and MoE identified Km 6.5 as a potential backchannel re-wetting option. Field assessments and surveying as well as construction feasbility has been discussed at a preliminary level with DFO and MoE, and CN will be proceeding with environmental permitting and construction in Summer 2007.

KM 6.5 Re-Watering Project Final Report 2007, April 2008 (pdf)
Triton Environmental KM 6.5 Re-Watering Presentation at the River Restoration Northwest Design Symposium, February 2008 (pdf)
Designs: Preliminary Km 6.5 Re-Wetting Designs - June 2007 (pdf)
KM 6.5 Rewatering Brochure (pdf)

Wilson Slough Reunion

Wilson Slough originally connected to the Squamish Estuary as part of the upper Mamquam Blind Channel. CN completed installation of a culvert to reconnect these two waterbodies in fall 2007 and the site was fully functional in 2008. The District of Squamish is now the maintainer of the flood control system.

Wilson Slough Re-Connection Project Final Report, January 2009 (pdf)

Wilson Slough Brochure - Brackendale Fall Fair, 2008 (pdf)

Location Map (pdf)
Orthophoto Plan View (pdf)
Regular Plan View (pdf)
Profile View (pdf)
Details (pdf)

LWD Demonstration Project

CN partnered with the British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF) to complete a large, woody debris (LWD) demonstration project in the Cheakamus mainstem near the North Vancouver Outdoor School in 2007. The project involved the construction of 11 wood structures and 55 loads of boulders to increase cover and habitat complexity along the riverbank. The project created over 850 square metres of instream rearing habitat. BCCF currently has phase II conditionally approved through the Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Fund.

LWD Demonstration Project 2007 Final Report (pdf)
LWD Brochure - Brackendale Fall Fair, 2008 (pdf)
LWD Demonstration Consultation Background - June 2007 (pdf)
LWD Demonstration Proposal - March 2007 (pdf)

Cat Lake Stocking and Enrichment Project

CN partnered with the British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF) to stock Cat Lake with approximately 3,000 steelhead trout in 2007 and 2008 and provide nutrient enrichment to the lake to provide fishing opportunities. The work is completed with the support of local First Nations and involves limnology monitoring and fish sampling.

Dave Marshall Salmon Reserve Habitat Enhancement


CN is always looking for feasible enhancement or restoration projects on the Cheakamus River. If you have an idea, please complete the forms below, or if you have a project you would like to propose to the Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Fund please click the link to the Fund.

Project Ideas - Project Suggestion Form (pdf)
Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Fund