Beulah Creek Restoration – A Good Environmental Story

By GRANT SCOTT for Conservancy Hornby Island
originally Published in The First Edition, Oct 1, 2019

Prior to the construction of Central Road from the Coop to Ford Cove and the installation of the existing culverts at Beulah Creek, there was probably a natural small run of coho and chum salmon and resident cutthroat trout in the creek. Presently the fish cannot get above the road as the existing culverts were not large enough and were installed so as to create a small but restricting waterfall. Salmon and trout will not jump into a culvert but will swim through one so the new main culvert will be deeper with gravel all the way through allowing for the easy passing of salmon and trout. This is a great improvement putting Beulah Creek back to a more natural state. Also, the culvert that is under the road leading to Wardle’s place will be replaced by a bridge. Peter Wardle will pay for the bridge. Highways is paying for culvert replacement under Central Road. The Pacific Salmon Foundation has provided CHI with a grant to assist with the stream restoration work.

The Beulah Creek Update project is, as of September 19, progressing very well. I spoke to the engineer managing the project and she showed me the plans and explained the process for replacing the culverts under Central Road. There will be three new culverts. A large main one will be installed so salmon and trout can swim through to the spawning habitat above Central Road. In order to keep the road open with one-way traffic they are installing the culverts in two sections, first under one side allowing traffic to pass then on the other side. The final road will be the same as present but with guard rails on each side.

Next fall stream restoration work will be done on Beulah creek. This will involve removing debris and creating better salmon spawning and trout habitat. This work has to be done in two stages over two years as there is not enough time after Labour Day between when the tourists leave and the fall rains come to do both culverts replacement and stream restoration.

In the past the Stonehouse family worked annually with the school teachers and the kids who raised and released coho and chum salmon fry into the creek. It was amazing in November and December seeing the returning mature chum and coho swimming in the pond below the road and possibly spawning in the lower reaches of the creek below Central Road. Fisheries and Oceans will be replacing the equipment lost in the school fire and the kids will again be releasing fry into the creek late this fall, continuing the program started by the Stonehouse family.

Thanks to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Hornby School for their interest and support in this good news environmental project. Let’s not forget Doug Nixon and the Ministry of Highways.