A little perspective on the Atkins Road culvert where work will take place. (Courtesy Peninsula Streams Society)

A little perspective on the Atkins Road culvert where work will take place. (Courtesy Peninsula Streams Society)

Millstream fish ladder gives salmon, trout a leg up

Peninsula Streams Society expects 3,000 more coho to return to spawn

Coho salmon and cutthroat trout will soon have access to an additional seven kilometres of habitat in Millstream Creek.

This summer, Peninsula Streams Society, working with the Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Society, will move ahead with an $800,000 fish ladder project.

A ‘fishway’ will be created, that allows fish to move up and through a large culvert under Atkins Road near Mill Hill Regional Park. This fishway will consist of 14 step-pools up to the culvert and 12 steel baffles within it. The baffles will aid fish passage through the culvert and concrete will improve the culvert’s longevity.

In a strong year, Peninsula Streams expects upwards of 3,000 more coho will return to spawn as a result of this project.

“Expanding and enhancing spawning and juvenile rearing habitat for salmon will help recover populations of some of B.C.’s most iconic species and highlights their resilience in response to restoration and conservation initiatives,” the society notes in a news release. “Opening up habitat that was previously inaccessible is significantly more effective than restoring degraded habitat.”

ALSO READ: Millstream fish ladder extension work starts Monday

Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-June but is weather-dependent to mitigate any ecological risks downstream, according to the release. There may be some disruption to traffic along Atkins Road at Mill Hill Regional Park and public access to this area of the park may be restricted during construction.

Some trees were removed earlier in the year (native plants were salvaged) to help create access to the site. At least four trees will be replanted for each tree that was removed along with more native species in the fall.

Construction was originally slated for 2018 but a limitation of construction funds delayed the project. According to an update from Peninsula Streams, the society has raised more than 80 per cent of the funds and the group continues to fundraise for engineering, biological and other support costs.

Ian Bruce, executive coordinator, notes the project was made possible this year with major funding support from the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund as well as the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Other funding partners include the Town of View Royal, Goldstream Volunteer Salmon Enhancement Association, Ralmax Group Holdings Ltd., Victoria Fish and Game Association, Esquimalt Anglers, Market on Millstream, Rotary Club of Westshore, and Victoria Golden Rods and Reels.

For more information on the project, or to donate, visit peninsulastreams.ca/millstream-fishway-project or contact the society at peninsulastreams@gmail.com. Tax receipts will be issued for donations.

Working with volunteers, Peninsula Streams Society works to foster community-based stewardship and spread public awareness of salmon conservation and threats to recovery.

ALSO READ: Peninsula Streams Society to restore 120 metres of Colquitz Watershed


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