The Cowichan Tribes-Chatwin Engineering Partnership currently has many environmentally sustainable projects in development, ranging from feasibility to detailed design to completed projects. The Quamichan Creek Culvert is one such project and won the Sustainability Excellence of the Year Award in 2017.
The Quamichan Road is an important road in the Cowichan Tribes Village. It is the main entrance to one of their key traditional Big Houses. The Quamichan Creek crosses under the road and discharges to the Cowichan River.
Culverts under the road were improperly constructed, in poor condition and failing. A portion of the road had already collapsed and fallen into the Cowichan River. There was fear that the road would continue to collapse and eventually cause a catastrophic accident.
The driving force was to repair the culvert and ensure the safety of the people of the Cowichan Tribes.
Failing Culvert – Before
During the design of the culvert the Cowichan Tribes-Chatwin Engineering Partnership collaborated with a Nanaimo environmental engineering company, D.R.Clough Consulting.
Dave Clough, RPBio and Brad Remillard, RPBio of DRClough Consulting, worked with the Team to provide suggestions for developing a culvert design that would not only improve the safety of the road, but also possibly attract spawning salmon back into the Quamichan River.
The Quamichan River used to be a productive salmon spawning channel.
The poor installation of the existing culverts had virtually blocked the passage of fish to the Quamichan River.
The Culvert Construction
The Fish Return
The Design Team incorporated innovative strategies of developing spawning channels, spawning pools and overlaying logs for shade protection for salmon.
The project was completed in the summer of 2016, with the hope that there would be a few salmon from the Cowichan River having the desire to return to the Quamichan Creek to help rebuild this run of salmon.
In the Fall of 2016 returning salmon were attracted to the newly constructed habitat of the Quamichan Culvert Program and hundreds of salmon returned to the Quamichan River.
It is estimated that thousands of salmon will be hatched and return to the ocean from this project and it will only grow in the years to come.