"Committed to the recovery of wild Pacific salmon in mid Vancouver
Island watersheds through habitat restoration and community engagement"
"Committed to the restoration of wild Pacific salmon in mid Vancouver
Island watersheds through habitat restoration and community engagement"


Taking Action Against A Destructive Invader

The Snaw-naw-as First Nation, our partner in salmon habitat restoration, is taking action to control reed canary grass in the Side Channel in Englishman River Regional Park.


Action Heroes (left to right) Codi Bob, Jesse Bob, Councillor Chris Bob, William Hawkins, Betty Jean Bob, Brenden Bob


Reed canary grass is an aggressive sod-forming grass that invades wetlands. "Sod-forming" means it creates its own soil and can change a marsh into a dry meadow. In 2019, MVIHES conducted a wetland assessment in a 2.8 ha section of the Side Channel called the Beaver Pond. We found that reed canary grass was the dominant vegetation species.

This was bad news since the Side Channel, a Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) salmon enhancement operation, is intended to provide over-wintering habitat for Coho Salmon fry. Adult salmon travel through the Beaver Pond to spawn in the upper section of the Side Channel. Although there are still pools of open water and small channels with water flow, the reed canary grass could eventually fill in those areas, blocking fish passage and displacing habitat.



The photo to the left shows how the grass has filled in the open water that existed between the cattails.




It is impossible to remove the grass without causing significant damage to the fish habitat and maintaining sufficient water depth to kill the grass is impractical. The best solution is to provide shade since reed canary grass doesn't survive in shade.  Andrew McNaughton, Environmental Consultant for the Snaw-naw-as, proposed planting 100 six-foot tall cedars into the mats of reed canary grass. The cedars should grow into large trees and produce enough shade to control the grass, keeping areas of the Beaver Pond open in the future.

During the week of March 20,  and with some guidance from Steven Moore (Andrew's Environmental Technician), members of the Snaw-naw-as donned chestwaders and planted 100 cedar trees into the mats of reed canary grass, as seen in the photos below. 


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                          Chris Bob (l.)  Steven Moore (r,)                                       Brenden                                                           William


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                     Betty Jean                                                                           Jesse                                                         Codi

Caging is being installed around the trees to protect them from those dam-building beavers. (There's a reason it's called the Beaver Pond).

The trees were purchased from Streamside Native Plants. We'll be monitoring their growth and survival along with the demise of some of the reed canary grass. The most important thing is that pools and channels are available for salmon in the future.

Many thanks to Chris Bob and Snaw-naw-as First Nation, Andrew McNaughton and Steven Moore, and the Regional District of Nanaimo Parks Department, Nature Trust, and DFO for permitting the project to take place.




 DFO Logo

Restoring the Side Channel in the Englishman River

ERRPripariansignMVIHES is collaborating with the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Parks Dept to restore, conserve and protect riparian habitats in Englishman River Regional Park (ERRP). The project is being led by MVIHES volunteer, James Craig.

Since park formation in 2003 and since COVID 19 arrived, the trail network within the park has seen uncontrolled expansion with significant negative impacts along a large portion of the river’s west bank riparian edge, as well as parts of Clay Young Side Channel. The Side Channel is a very important rearing area for Coho Salmon fry and smolts. Both the number and size of trails have exploded with duplicate and unsanctioned trails close or next to the water’s edge through most of the 4.8km of river channel that flow through the park.





The left-hand photo shows the lack of riparian vegetation needed to stabilize the riverbank and provide shade for juvenile salmon and trout caused by the trail being right beside the river.









The right-hand photo shows an area of eroded riverbank (delineated by red lines) due to excessive foot traffic.










And due to the dynamic nature of the river, some trails are being destroyed by flooding as the river carves a new channel (left-hand photo). Eventually these areas will be inaccessible, putting more pressure on the remaining trails.






With a grant from the Pacific Salmon Foundation, funding from the RDN Parks Dept, and support from DFO’s Resource Restoration Unit, we are working with RDN Parks staff and contractors to:

  • design, purchase and install educational signage to encourage people to stay on sanctioned trails,
  • purchase and install split rail cedar fencing to direct foot traffic to the sanctioned trail along the Side Channel
  • decommission unsanctioned trails along the Side Channel
  • plant native shrubs and live stakes in impacted riparian areas to improve instream and overstream
    vegetation and, ultimately, salmonid productivity.

We have completed installing split rail fencing in an area along the Side Channel as seen in the photos below. Isn’t it beeyootiful! Mid Island Fence Products supplied and installed the fence. The red squares highlight areas of bank that have been trampled and require restoration.















On March 16 and 17, volunteers planted 115 shrubs in 1-gallon pots into the damaged bank of the Side Channel. Plant species include snowberry, salmonberry, Pacific nine-bark, Oregon grape, red-elderberry, sword fern, and sedges. After the shrubs were planted we spread logs and woody debris around them and along the cedar fence to discourage people and dogs from climbing over the fence and walking in the planted area.





 Our Action Heroes include:













                                                                                                        Martin Yeo                                              Terry Baum (left) Barb Riordan (right)

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                                                 Brian Lea                                                                   Liz Bredberg












                                                                                   Heather Ranson                                           James Craig, Project Leader 


                           Bob Williams                                                                     Time to go home

Other volunteers (who dodged the camera) were Barbara Wildman-Spencer and Marty LaCroix. Our wonderful Social Media Coordinator, Polina Iudina, took most of the photos. She also shot this awesome video.

Many thanks to our volunteers and:

Elaine McCulloch,  Amy Gore, and Dave Wheldon of the RDN Parks Department,

Area G Director Lehann Wallace who acknowledged our concerns and brought forward the motion of managing trails and restoring riparian habitat to the Regional Parks and Trails Select Committee,

and the Pacific Salmon Foundation





More Restoration Completed on Shelly Creek

Planting31The partnership between Snaw-naw-as First Nation and MVIHES continues in the restoration of salmon habitat on Shelly Creek with the planting of over 1230 trees and shrubs between November 23 and 26.  Planting was completed on the 200 m section of creek that was restored this summer for fry and smolt rearing, as described in a previous article. 

Andrew McNaughton, consultant for the Snaw-naw-as, had his team of Megan Peruzzo and Steven Moore measure the planting area and determine the species and number of plants that would produce the best riparian area for bank stability and shade for the fish. Other critters will also benefit from the diversity of plants. 

Some of the 21 selected species include Bigleaf Maple, Douglas and Grand Firs, Hemlock, Sword Fern, Salmonberry, Snow Berry, Red Elderberry, Hardhack, Swamp Gooseberry, and Stink Currant.

The plants were purchased from Streamside Native Plants by the Snaw-naw-as and delivered to the site in a container truck driven by Chris Bob, Councillor and Project Leader for the Snaw-naw-as. Over the course of four days, 19 MVIHES volunteers planted trees and shrubs alongside Steven, Megan, Chris and Chris' son Logan. Katie Schulze, a practicum student for Andrew McNaughton who is taking a post-degree Diploma course in Fisheries and Aquaculture at Vancouver Island University, got some practical experience planting with us. Our MLA, Adam Walker, and his daughter joined us as well. All but the last three photos were taken by our awesome new Social Media Co-ordinator, Polina Iudina. Watch the awesome video Polina produced here.









  Megan Peruzzo                                                                                                                                                      Shelley Goertzen









 Steven Moore (l.) and Chris Bob (r.)                                                                                                                                Ben McManus



Adam and Addison Walker                                          Bob Williams                            One of two bridges supplied by Chris and Logan Bob

Chris Bob brought some delicious smoked Sockeye Salmon from his community to keep us energized. What a treat!

MVIHES volunteers included Alex Grant, Tom Whitfield (Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers), Austin Peterson, Stephanie Gabel, Ben McManus and his neighbour Keith, Shelley Perry, Bob Williams, Shelley Goertzen, Brian Lea, Terry Baum, Maggie Estok, Mark Hutchinson, Rick Walz, Dick Dobler, Pat Ashton, Heather and David Ranson, Linsday Orr, and Barb Riordan.

Many thanks for a great job done by everyone!