Securing and restoring conservation lands in the Salmon River Estuary

Project Year: 2018-2019

Multi-year Project

View Provincial Database Record

Photo: P. Payne

Project Lead

The Nature Trust of British Columbia


Coastal Region


Project Type

Land Securement

FWCP Contribution


Action Plan Alignment

Wetland and Riparian Areas / Upland and Dryland / Rivers, Lakes and Reservoirs

Project ID


Conserving wildlife habitat in the Salmon River Watershed

With funding from the FWCP and others, The Nature Trust of BC (TNTBC) purchased property on the lower Salmon River in 2015, as an addition to the Salmon River Estuary Conservation Area. The overall goal of our project is to identify additional high-value wildlife habitat to secure for conservation in the Salmon River watershed, and to restore degraded riparian forest and wetland habitat in the Salmon River Estuary Conservation Area. This project will protect and improve habitat for birds, amphibians, mammals and salmon.

This will be accomplished by:
1) identifying new opportunities for acquiring properties with high-value habitat on the Salmon River;
2) restoring degraded habitat on the new property; and,
3) monitoring and maintaining past ecosystem restoration projects.


Update: Restoration work helps species at risk on Vancouver Island

In 2015, the FWCP helped purchase 67 hectares of conservation land to complement the existing 104 hectares of the Salmon River Estuary Conservation Area. The land, near Sayward, is owned by The Nature Trust of BC (NTBC).

Fast forward to 2018 and work continues to improve habitat on the conservation lands that have previously been impacted by logging and gravel extraction. Since 2015, five hectares of invasive Scotch Broom have been removed, several small wetlands enhanced, and, with the help of the Guardian Watchmen from the K’ómoks First Nation, approximately 1.5 hectares of Red Alder forest have been thinned that will help support songbirds.


Final Report: Executive Summary

Since 1978, in recognition of the exceptional fish and wildlife values found in the Salmon River watershed, The Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC) and its partners in the Pacific Estuary Conservation Program have been actively securing habitat in the Salmon River estuary. In 2015, with support from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) and others, NTBC purchased 165 acres (66.8 ha) near the lower Salmon River as an addition to the Salmon River Estuary Conservation Area. This complements 257 acres secured since 1978. The new property contains a diverse mix of riparian, wetland, and forest ecosystems.

Prior to NTBC’s acquisition of this new conservation property, significant areas of mature Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) forest on the property were logged and impacted by other human activities . After logging, restoration actions were not implemented and logged areas have since been colonized by Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) and other non-native invasive plant species that prevent native vegetation from establishing. In some locations, regenerating forests are dominated by high densities of even-aged red alder (Alnus rubra) with a dense shrub understory, or lack tree canopy cover completely. These forests have reduced species and structural diversity, provide limited forage value for Roosevelt Elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti), and limit movement by wildlife. In addition to the impacts from logging, gravel mining has resulted in the creation of two artificial wetlands. Although the wetlands have significant wildlife habitat value at present, they have over-steepened banks and lack shallow water habitat which limits use of the wetland by wildlife and amphibians.


Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.

View more about this project on the provincial database