The Centre Creek watershed is a sub-basin comprising 21 square km of Englishman River watershed. The river enters South Englishman River approximately 250 m before its confluence with Englishman River. Centre Creek’s fish-bearing length is 16.5 km which includes 5.2 km of anadromous habitat.
The entire watershed is owned by 2 forest companies. It has a long history of timber harvesting which has affected the health of the stream.
A 2002 Overview of Fish and Fish Habitat by Lough and Morley found Centre Creek to have the highest abundance of juvenile fish in all the Englishman River watershed and was recommended for a more comprehensive assessment. Responding to that recommendation and the need for an action plan was “Restoration Plan: Detailed Salmon Habitat and Riparian Overview with Level B Prescriptions - Centre Creek Sub-Basin - Englishman River Watershed” completed in 2005 by Warren Warttig and Dave Clough.
Restoration on this important tributary of the Englishman River, continued in 2010 with funding from the Pacific Salmon Foundation and assistance from Copcan and TimberWest, the owner of the property.
Twenty-five pieces of large conifer stumps and on-site logs plus 3 truckloads of rip rap were placed and cabled against an eroding bank in the lower reach of the river. This project was directed by Dave Clough of DR Clough Consulting and rehabilitates 100 square meters of bank and instream habitat.
MVIHES has been instrumental in establishing a long-range restoration plan for this sub-basin with a 2004 report by Warttig and Clough. Past projects have included riparian planting, making nesting cavities and installation of LWD with MVIHES volunteers helping whenever they could.
Restoration projects started in 2005 include:
- Removal of old Smolt trap site in Reach 1 (near the confluence).
- Riparian Restoration in polygon 1 was completed with approximately. 400 trees planted, standing timber thinned and 30 wildlife cavity habitats created in trees and on ground.
- Riparian and Habitat restoration in Reach 1 consisted of addressing riparian polygons of greatest need through prescriptions identified in the report. Instream habitat restoration consisted of LWD anchoring in the lower, anadromous reaches of Centre Creek. The objective was to improve stream habitat productivity for coho and other salmonids.
- Four test pits were dug in Reach 1 to determine feasibility of side channel development. The area was found to be not suitable for a side channel.
- Fresh blowdown from the clearcut side of the creek left an area of approximately 30 meters at high risk of further failure, likely causing consequences downstream to high value salmon habitat in the form of sedimentation and loss of stable LWD. The stability of the bank and LWD was restored with ballast rock, stumps and cabling.
Since the Plan deals with the whole watershed, including the private logging roads, there is the opportunity to work with the forest companies to perhaps establish a restoration “model” for other watersheds. The road recovery plans outlined in the Plan for Centre Creek are to be established with the forest companies to integrate into their operational objectives.
Prior to MVIHES becoming involved with Centre Creek, the Englishman River Enhancement Group, consisting of ex-fishermen, headed up by Clay Young and assisted by DFO, was active on the stream. They operated a counting fence for adults and juveniles and were engaged in a coded-wire tagging program for a number of years.