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The Clare Winsor Project

Throughout 2023 & 2024, M.E.S.S.S is enhancing salmon spawning habitat in Embley creek by adding fresh spawning gravel and removing silt from existing gravel in salmon spawning areas.

 

This project is a partnership between M.E.S.S.S, the Clare Winsor Foundation, local first nations' residents, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Clare Winsor came to visit the Broughton Archipelago on a fly fishing trip in 2018 with her husband Chris.  Clare spent much time photographing the local wildlife, and soon fell in love with the area. Sadly, Clare passed on in 2020 and the following year her late husband, Chris Winsor, chose to return and scatter some of Clare's ashes in the Broughton archipelago that she cared so deeply about, as she did about many beautiful wild places.

Embley, clare and CHris.webp

Chris and Clare Winsor 2018

 

Since Clare's passing, a foundation in her name, The Clare Winsor Foundation, has been set up to provide financial grants to help small worthy environmental projects get off the ground. When Chris heard about the need for enhancement of spawning grounds in Embley creek, he kindly offered to contribute financially to the project. This donation was used to purchase approximately 20 tons of washed, fisheries grade spawning gravel, the optimum size for spawning salmon, which was helicoptered into position alongside Embley creek and from there, placed carefully by hand onto the spawning grounds by a local residents of Gilford Island, Watson Island and Baker island, BC. As soon as the fall of 2023, salmon were observed digging out and spawning in the newly added gravel. 

Long time resident of nearby Hopetown Village and guardian of Embley creek, Irvin Speck, offered his first hand knowledge of the Embley salmon, their habitat and their needs.  Irvin personally donated the cost of barging the gravel from Campbell River BC, to Embley creek, and invited local freinds from neighbouring villages to add the gravel by hand to the creeks,  as well as clear silt from the existing gravel beds. 

The Pacific Salmon Foundation funded the cost of the helicopter to fly the gravel from the barge site to the creek side.

Thank you to the volunteers and workers involved for 'walking the walk' rolling up your sleeves and working hard for the salmon. 

Update: In the fall of 2023, chum salmon were observed spawning in the newly added gravel.  The project was not without it's problems, but we overcame them, and not only reached our goal to restore 100m2 of spawning area, we actually exceeded that goal by creating over double the spawning area planned.  In July 2024 we plan to continue with this project.

Thanks to the hard work, dedication and passion of local volunteers and workers, the Clare Winsor Project could not have happened. Here are a few pictures of the work in progress. As you can see from their smiling faces, this creek is near to their hearts.

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