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Squamish Spit excavation restarts

After suspending work for herring spawn, crews are back out on the Spit.
SpitMarch 23/2022
Work restarts at the Spit on March 23. (Pictured is the Squamish River Watershed's, Edith Tobe.)

The work on the Squamish Spit restarts today (March 23). 

At the beginning of March, the Squamish River Watershed Society announced it was halting excavation of a 300-metre portion of the Squamish River training berm temporarily to allow herring to spawn and hatch near the site. 

Patricia Heintzman, a spokesperson for the project, told The Squamish Chief that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) had given the project the go-ahead to recommence the Spit work. 

"All the herring eggs spawned have either hatched or are no longer viable. DFO did a thorough analysis on Monday, particularly of the area where Whistler Excavating is working and therefore work restarted again today," Heintzman said.

"There was a pretty healthy spawn this year, particularly in the upper reaches of the central estuary, near Squamish Terminals and on the steeper parts of the 'island,' where there is a considerable amount of seaweed and organic vegetation. Although not overly prolific on the spit itself, there was more than most years."

Heinzman said there are less than two weeks of work remaining to complete the excavation of the first 300 metres of the berm. 

This phase of removing the training berm just north of the Squamish wind sport launch is part of the larger, rebranded Restore the Shore Central Estuary Restoration project.

Ultimately, the aim is to remove approximately 900 metres of the lower training berm, or Spit.

Previously, project leads said that planning and permit development for Phase 2 — removing the remaining 600 metres — is underway, with work anticipated to start in October 2022.

The project is being done in collaboration with Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to improve fish habitat, particularly that of juvenile chinook.

The work is funded by the Coastal Restoration Fund, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Healthy Waters Initiative and the BC Hydro Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP).





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