In 2003, the resorts began restoring
6.4 kilometres of critical spawning habitats in the Bedwell River basin. The only
privately-funded initiative of its kind in North America, the five-year program
is welcomed by First Nation leaders as well as federal and regional agencies.
To date, about 20,000 cubic metres of over-burden (gravel and debris
jams) have been excavated to restore the so-called pond channel, and more excavation
and restoration work is being done about 2km up-river from the Outpost.
During the 2006 season, restoration crews and interested guests will continue 'complexing'
off-channel spawning and rearing salmon habitats to restore salmon and steelhead
populations to pre-industrialized levels. Already, chum salmon have been seen
digging redds (egg nests) in the new off-channel habitat.
Off-channels are akin to collector lanes running parallel to
a main freeway; safe, protected areas for salmon to spawn, eggs to hatch, and
for fry to mature. They are removed topographically from the devestating effects
of torrential river activity, which washes away both eggs and fry.
In June of 2005, restoration crews
will start 'complexing' the off channel with large stumps and logs to provide
shade and predator cover for juvenile salmon. Within a few short years, a new
natural eco-system with optimum upslope and mature riparian edge (diverse bank
and shoreline area) will dramatically increase the numbers of salmon and steelhead
returning each year to Clayoquot Sound.
Resort guests are invited to
participate in all aspects of the restoration process and/or learn about the role
salmon play in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere, not just as a food source in the
region's web of life, but as a complex key to the Biosphere's fragile eco-system.