The six-inch concrete sill at the outlet of Westwood Lake near Nanaimo didn’t look like much, but when James Craig, BC Conservation Foundation fisheries biologist showed HCTF staff the other end of the lake – we were impressed! The additional water storage in the lake as a result of the sill construction was just enough to maintain year-round flows in the outlet stream that was previously dry most of the year. It now has the potential of supporting cutthroat trout and coho salmon.
This is the third HCTF project evaluation that HCTF staff have carried out this spring. East Coast Vancouver Island Water Storage Feasibility was a 5-year project completed in 2011-12. Project leader James Craig explained the goal of the project was to look at streams and lakes at various sites on the east coast of Vancouver Island to determine how to improve flows for fish habitat. Most of the work was behind the scenes, working with landowners, water licensees, local governments and other stakeholders to resolve the administrative and regulatory barriers to ensure there is enough water for fish. This kind of project takes diplomacy and perseverance on top of the fisheries expertise – thank you, James, for using these skills on behalf of fish conservation in BC.