The James Creek spawning gravel project has been envisioned by streamkeepers for some years. Historically, early logging practises removed much of the natural spawning gravel in many creeks on the coast when logs were sluiced down creek beds. James Creek, which runs through the Children’s Forest and into Carrington Lagoon, was identified as a creek that could benefit from additional spawning gravel. The idea of a bucket brigade was hatched as a simple, hands-on project, although the simplicity evolved into a more complex project as FOCI Streamkeepers navigated the official requirements, permits and agreements from the many partners.
Support and approval were obtained from the following parties: Mosaic Forest Management Corporation for access to the private managed forest lands which James Creek runs through; Mainroad Contracting for their community participation with the free supply and transportation of spawning gravel to the area (specifically to Damian Girard, John Messant & Bruce Brown); FOCI for their administrative support and insurance coverage; Fisheries & Oceans Canada and the Ministry of Forest & Lands for permitting approval; and the Community Forest General Partnership for access to storing the gravel on crown lands.
A few individuals were especially important in making this project succeed. Stacey Larson & Dave Ewart from Fisheries & Oceans identified and surveyed the locations for gravel placement with local streamkeepers; Max for organizing the Blue Jay Lake workforce and arriving with a humungous load of wheelbarrows & gear atop an all-terrain vehicle; Elijah for his expertise in setting up the zipline which facilitated minimizing the impact to the riparian zone; Helen from FOCI for dealing with much of the bureaucracy; and Esiana for fuelling us with yummy chocolate granola bars.
This community project is noteworthy for the number of organizations and individuals cooperating together in environmental stewardship for Cortes Island. Now that permits and agreements are in place for the first phase of laying spawning gravel in James Creek, we anticipate completing the project over the next couple of years during the fish window of August & September.
The true heroes are the 21 volunteers who grunted awkward wheelbarrows over tree roots and a rugged path, so huge thanks to all of you. This was a great team effort!
And now, we eagerly await the return of chum into James Creek.
— Christine & Cec