CN
Squamish
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
BC Ministry of Environment
Squamish Nation
Monitoring Programs


Two major components make up the Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Plan, Monitoring Programs and Recovery Programs. The monitoring component is the ability to track fish population trends over time in order to monitor recovery. CN is undertaking a number of monitoring programs to track fish populations, a small portion of these monitoring programs includes working cooperatively with BC Hydro and their Water Use Plan (WUP).

Juvenile Salmonid Outmigration

This BC Hydro program is being implemented under the WUP through the rotary screw traps (RST) at the North Vancouver Outdoor School and fish counters at key side-channels. Aspects of the program have been underway since 2000 and is expected to continue through 2011 to provide population estimates for many of the species impacted by the spill.

  • Target species: coho smolts, chinook smolt, steelhead smolt, pink fry, chum fry
  • Secondary targets: char, sculpin, lamprey

Juvenile Salmonid Outmigration Enumeration Assessment Spring 2008 (pdf)

Juvenile Salmonid Outmigration Enumeration Assessment Spring 2007 (pdf)

Study Design: Cheakamus River Juvenile Outmigrant Monitoring - BC Hydro (pdf)

Results: 2006 Assessment of Juvenile Migration, using Rotary Traps - BC Hydro (pdf)

Off-Channel Habitat Mark Re-capture Program

Additional juvenile salmonid monitoring occurred in 2006 at the North Vancouver Outdoor School through the use of mark recapture techniques and density comparisons. Work is coordinated with the BC Hydro RST program and will be removed once the BC Hydro Cheakamus River Juvenile Salmonid Outmigrant Enumeration Monitoring is implemented in 2007.

Study Design: Off-Channel Mark Re-capture (pdf)
Results: Off-channel Mark Recapture Final Report, 2006 (pdf)

Non-Anadromous Reach Fish Sampling

The non-anadromous barrier reach begins approximately 17km upstream of the confluence with the Squamish River. The spill site is located above the barrier and fish sampling is being undertaken at two 500m sections of the Cheakamus River, one above and one below the spill site. The primary target are salmonid populations, however, all fish captured during the sampling will be documented. Sampling efforts include electroshocking and minnow trapping twice per year.

Results: 2008 NA Reach Fish Abundance Monitoring Program Final Report (pdf)

2008 NA Reach Fish Abundance Monitoring Appendices (pdf)

Results: 2007 NA Reach Fish Abundance Monitoring Final Report (pdf)

2007 NA Reach Fish Abundance Monitoring Appendices (pdf)

Results: 2006 NA Reach Fish Abundance Monitoring Final Report (pdf)

2006 NA Reach Fish Abundance Monitoring Appendices (pdf)

Study Design: Feb 2007 Revision - BC Hydro Monitoring Programs - BC Hydro (pdf)

Trout Abundance Monitor in the Cheakamus River - Final Report, 2007 - BC Hydro (pdf)

Steelhead/Char Adult Enumeration

CN is working cooperatively with BC Hydro to jointly count adult steelhead and adult char through BC Hydro's snorkel surveys. Reliable steelhead pre-spill data is available through the original BC Hydro WUP program and will be used in comparing population trends. Useful char data was collected for many years through this method and to enable useful char pre-spill data, a snorkeler efficiency calibration study is being completed through CN's Char Radio Telemetry Program. This information will enable the char pre-spill data to be corrected and therefore useful as pre-spill data.

Evaluation of the Effects of the 2005 Sodium Hydroxide Spill on Steelhead Escapement to the Cheakamus River in 2009 and 2010 and the Efficacy of Hatchery Supplementation

Effects of the 2005 Sodium Hydroxide Spill and Hatchery Supplementation on Steelhead Escapement to the Cheakamus River

Evaluation of the Effects of the 2005 Spill on Steelhead Escapement to the Cheakamus River in 2009 and the Efficacy of the First Year of Hatchery Supplementation (pdf)

Cheakamus River Steelhead Adult Abundance, and Juvenile Habitat Use and Abundance Monitoring 2007-2008 Final Report - BC Hydro (pdf)

Study Design: February 2007 Revision - BC Hydro Monitoring Programs - BC Hydro (pdf)

  • Target species: steelhead, char

Char Adult Radio Telemetry Program

The number of adult char in the Cheakamus River (between Cheekye River and the anadromous barrier) has been enumerated in BC Hydro snorkel surveys since 1996. This pre-spill data provides information on char relative abundance and distribution over 14km of the river. With the inclusion of the CN radio telemetry program for char, we can calculate the number of fish seen in snorkel swims versus the number of fish known to be in the area enabling calibration of snorkeler efficiency. By calibrating snorkel efficiencies, the program will allow back calculations of char relative abundance and provide a reliable and defensible char recovery target. The tracking of char movements on the Cheakamus River over a two+ year period provides further information on char life history, residence time and general spawning locations, amongst others.

A component of this program includes speciation to provide an actual determination of the species of char in the river as either bull trout, Dolly Varden or both. Future snorkel surveys through the BC Hydro WUP for enumeration of steelhead and char will continue and provide accurate information on steelhead and char recovery.

Study Design: Char Adult Radio Telemetry Study (pdf)

  • Target species: char (Dolly Varden, bull trout)

Results: 2007-2009 Cheakamus River Bull Trout Radiotelemetry and Enumeration Program Final Report (pdf)

Results: 2008 Bull Trout Radio Telemetry and Enumeration Annual Report (pdf)

Results: 2007 Char Radio Telemetry and Enumeration Annual Report (pdf)

Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program (RAMP)

The objective of the CN program is to determine post-spill abundance of resident juvenile and adult fish in the Cheakamus River in order to measure recovery, and determine if and when population levels reach pre-spill abundance levels or densities reach a state of equilibrium. All resident species will be targeted with this program by selecting their appropriate habitat types (e.g. lamprey study sites will focus on habitat typically used by lamprey such as sand/mud/organic or fine sediments). The specific study locations are provided on the study design and may change overtime as river conditions change.

  • Target species: prickly sculpin, coastrange sculpin, pacific lamprey, western brook lamprey, cutthroat trout, char (Dolly Varden and bull trout), threespine stickleback, and rainbow trout/steelhead
  • Secondary target species: Chinook salmon, coho salmon, pink salmon, and chum salmon

Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2014 Final Report (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2014 Final Report Appendices (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2013 Final Report (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2013 Final Report Appendices (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2012 Final Report (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2012 Final Report Appendices (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2011 Final Report (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2011 Final Report Appendices (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2010 Final Report (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2010 Final Report Appendices (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2009 Final Report (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2009 Final Report Appendices (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2008 Final Report (pdf)
Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2008 Appendices (pdf)
Results: Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2007 Final Report (pdf)
Appendices: Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2007 Appendices (pdf)
Study Design: Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program (pdf)
Results: Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2006 Final Report (pdf)
Appendices: Resident Fish Abundance Monitoring Program 2006 Appendices (pdf)

Steelhead - Acoustic Tracking of Hatchery Smolts (Residualization and Ocean Survival)

Two years of hatchery propagated steelhead smolts are being released in the Cheakamus River in 2007 and 2008 through the steelhead fish culture program. A major concern with hatchery propagation was the risk of residualization of smolts in the river, potentially off-setting the total number of steelhead the river could contain. MoE has requested that a monitoring program be implemented to track steelhead smolt migration, determine the number of smolts residualizing in the river and potentially remove them from the system. The program was developed by InStream and MoE and CN has contracted with Kintama Research to undertake this program.

Acoustic telemetry will be used in the Cheakamus River to monitor the presence of tagged steelhead in the 2-3 months following the downstream migration. This will help detect individuals that failed to migrate downstream. Acoustic and radio receivers will be placed at several locations in the Cheakamus River, both upstream and downstream from the release site. If fish move past these receivers, they will be detected and provide an estimate of how many fish have residualised and where they are located. Those steelhead that continue their migration downstream and into the Straight of Georgia will be tracked by the Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking project (POST).

  • Target species: Steelhead

Study Final Steelhead POST Report (pdf)
Study Design: Acoustic Tracking of Steelhead Hatchery Smolt Study (pdf)
Results: 2007 Steelhead POST Report (pdf)

Chinook Coded Wire Tagging

A coded wire tagging program of 2006/2007 chinook fry released from the Tenderfoot hatchery is being undertaken.