SEHAB Roundtable Template–– November 2017

SEHAB Member: Dianne Sanford

Area:  Sunshine Coast

Community Advisor:  none locally.

Date:  November 3-5, 2017


Key Issues:

What top three points can you distill from community input to take to DFO RHQ?

  1. Major water issues – Chapman Creek facing immense pressure from increasing human water consumption and low instream flows during the summer and early fall. Resulting concerns from these two stressors are inadequate spawning passage, diminishing salmon stock numbers, and reduced rearing habitat for wild salmonids. The hatchery would like to supplement Coho eggs this year as they have next to none, but are told the creek has to be barren before introduction of Coho eggs.
  2. Due to “gap” in communication beween DFO and the Province, sensitive shoreline zones are being lost to development of docks and other ventures. For example, the Province approved a very large boat dock and floatplane dock within a federal RCA this past May. This is an area with eelgrass beds and is a known feeding area for the SARA listed Marbled Murrelets. DFO needs to be included in such decisions, and the public expects that it should exercise the authority to protect the commons over a private development.
  3. There is still a great need for an on-the-ground DFO presence on the lower Sunshine Coast. There are ongoing challenges with regard to developments as well as issues of enforcement of fishing regulations on day-use visitors from the Lower Mainland.


A few examples of successes, failures, challenges.

  1. Salmon in the Classroom (Stream to Sea Program) has been a successfull program for many years on the Upper (Powell River) and Lower Sunshine Coast, with all schools participating over the years. Chapman has always been a reliable source for eyed Coho eggs, and dissection fish. This is no longer the case.


  1. Without DFO Resource Restoration Unit, where will guidance for restoration projects come from? Students and community groups rely on DFO for technical advice. Ruby Lake Society is looking for a long term project and have earmarked Anderson Creek, but the present water intake for rearing channels is improperly placed and needs correction. Will there be DFO advice available for this project?   Chapman also has rearing channels that are not functioning.


  • Major gravel extraction project at McNab Creek in Howe Sound is at the final public input stage for the province with comments due November 27th on their proposed conditions for the environmental certificate. In the 1970’s the Creek was identified as one of three more gently sloping streams on the west side of Howe Sound with a significant estuary (there being none on the east side) and therefore had significant capabilities, along with the Squamish River, for supporting a recreational and commercial fishery in Howe Sound. The proponents believe that they can remove the aggregate without negatively impacting the water balance for McNab Cr and the salmonids including Cutthroat and Steelhead that use the waters and estuary.

Issues Specific to SEHAB’s Work Plan:

SEHAB Work Plan

Local Issue, Specific  Examples

Actions by Community or DFO

SEHAB Opportunity

Wild Salmon Policy (Stock Assessment, Habitat)

No Community Advisor on the Lower Sunshine Coast, no DFO presence. 

Habitat improvements are needed to provide rearing habitat.  DFO guidance would be valuable


DFO has promised a replacement CA, there may be an interim assignment.







Capacity & Core Funding





Submissions, Comments from Groups:

Powell River Salmon Society– no comments

Sunshine Coast Salmonid Enhancement Society –

Water issues are ongoing, human consumption is prioritized over fish survival, and fish numbers are down.  Chapman does not supply enough water for the hatchery to maintain rearing the numbers of salmonids to maintain runs.

Sunshine Coast Conservation Association

Gravel mining operation application at McNab Creek is at the final provincial public input phase. The project was turned down twice by DFO before the proponent took DFO to court to demand that the project be allowed to be evaluated by the (pre 2012) Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Under that legislation the province is conducting its own environmental assessment.  The mine expects to remove 20 million tonnes in 16 years. The resulting pit located downslope of the dog leg of McNab Creek will be fresh water-filled.