Divers (left to right: Barney Edgars, Dion Lewis, Ben Penna and Gwiisihlgaa Dan McNeill) are pictured getting ready to explore the seafloor at the old Juus Káahlii Juskatla Inlet logging site, which was chosen as the pilot site for an overall Council of the Haida Nation project to restore marine habitat around historic logging sites on Haida Gwaii. Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 that the Secretariat of the Haida Nation was receiving more than $1.1 million over three years for the project.

Divers (left to right: Barney Edgars, Dion Lewis, Ben Penna and Gwiisihlgaa Dan McNeill) are pictured getting ready to explore the seafloor at the old Juus Káahlii Juskatla Inlet logging site, which was chosen as the pilot site for an overall Council of the Haida Nation project to restore marine habitat around historic logging sites on Haida Gwaii. Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 that the Secretariat of the Haida Nation was receiving more than $1.1 million over three years for the project.

Haida Nation dives into 3-year project to restore marine habitat around old logging sites

Marine Toad contracted to restore 0.4 to 0.8 hectares of marine meadow at Juskatla Inlet pilot site

Work has begun to revitalize marine habitat around an old logging site near Port Clements.

Judson Brown, marine planning program manager for the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN), told the Observer work started around January on a three-year project that includes a pilot to restore the old logging site at Juus Káahlii Juskatla Inlet, where harvested tree logs used to be dumped into the ocean and loaded onto barges.

According to a release from the CHN on June 9, about 20 trucks were processed each day at the Juskatla Inlet pilot site during peak logging years, from the 1960s to about 1980.

Loggers would dump logs into the water at the end of a causeway, where they also dug a hole to keep wood from hitting the seafloor. Infill from the hole and other woody debris was routinely piled on the surrounding beach, including on top of a t’anuu eelgrass meadow, believed to have supported a vibrant fish nursery.

Bacteria use oxygen when breaking down debris underwater, so the site has since become a more severe, anoxic environment compared to its natural state — a subtidal “dead zone” where other marine organisms struggle to survive.

Ultimately, the CHN hopes to restore a marine meadow the size of 10 to 20 basketball courts (0.4-0.8 hectares).

“It’s going to look way different,” Brown said. “This project is pretty much the first of its kind on the B.C. coast.”

ALSO READ: Commercial fishing concerns over marine protected areas

A Google Maps view of Juus Káahlii Juskatla Inlet. (Google Maps)


Biologist Leandre Vigneault, owner of the Marine Toad company that has been contracted to manage the project, told the Observer the pilot site is unique since it is far inland from the ocean. Set behind two narrow passages, there is limited natural flushing of the water in the area, lower salinity, high tannin concentrations and a relatively less diverse ecosystem.

Vigneault has been participating in the dives done to date and although they happen during the day, he said if he did not have his own light below 25 feet “it might as well have been midnight.”

Eelgrass needs a low, gently-sloping zone where light can penetrate to grow, so he said his crew will be digging and pulling back the material deposited over the eelgrass beds with excavators, re-establishing the natural beach contours over the summer, and then transplanting eelgrass from the neighbouring bay over the fall and winter.

“The exact timing will depend on COVID-19 considerations and obtaining all of the permits required for the various activities,” he said.

ALSO READ: Marine protected areas not all good, says Vancouver Island fisherman

The Juskatla Inlet site was chosen from a list of 69 historic log sorts around Haida Gwaii to be the pilot site for the larger marine habitat restoration project, which aims to improve habitat under and around past and current log sorts, booming areas, and other areas impacted by logging and related activities.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced on March 10 that the Secretariat of the Haida Nation was receiving more than $1.1 million over three years for the project.

The funding was part of the final call for proposals under the $75 million Coastal Restoration Fund, which has provided or approved funding for 64 partnered projects since it was announced by the federal government in May 2017.

The Coastal Restoration Fund is in turn part of the five-year, $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan. Launched in November 2016, the plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways.

ALSO READ: Marine experts investigating after first recorded striped dolphin sighting on Haida Gwaii

Other historic log sites on Haida Gwaii are also being considered for restoration in 2021 as part of the overall project, such as the portion of Bearskin Bay in Skidegate Inlet that is no longer used for logging.

Vigneault said the Bearskin Bay project could possibly focus more on re-establishing kelp.

For example, the crew may sprinkle rocks with kelp larvae attached on the seafloor.

He said they will be monitoring the success of all project restoration work over the short and long-term.

ALSO READ: SG̱aan Ḵinghlas-Bowie Seamount marine area receives renewed protection

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
karissa.gall@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

forestry

Just Posted

Taylor Bachrach, NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley addresses Parliament on June 7, in call for the federal government to stop fighting Indigenous children in court and to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action. (Image: supplied from Facebook)
NDP motion calling for immediate reconciliation action passes

Skeena-Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach addresses federal Parliament

Coho is one of many fish species that will benefit from a project to assess fish passage in the Falls River Watershed and offer options for improved connectivity and habitat restoration. The project will be delivered with funding from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program announced on June 8. (Photo: supplied by FWCP, istock, M.Haring)
More than $2.1 million for Northcoast fish and wildlife projects

Falls River Watershed SE of Prince Rupert to have fish passage and habitat study

UFAWU-Unifor stated on June 8 that there is no evidence of commercial fishing fleet overfishing for salmon. A salmon being weighed in Prince Rupert during the correct season in 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
UFAWU-Unifor responds to DFO’s Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative

Union states there is no evidence of overfishing in the commercial fleet

Ocean Wise’s cetacean photogrammetry research program uses aerial images collected by boat-launched drones to measure the body condition of whales and assess their health and nutritional status. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal License MML-18 photo)
LNG Canada commits $750K to Ocean Wise

New three-year initiative expands whale research, conservation and education programs in the north west

Loki, a young bald eagle is seen in recovery after being found hanging from power lines on just her second day of independence, last July. Equipped with a GPS, Loki has made a home in Prince Rupert with Hancock Wildlife Foundation asking for help in photographing her. (Photo: Hancock Wildlife Foundation)
Looking for Loki, the new Prince Rupert local

Hancock Wildlife Foundation is asking the public for help

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read