West Fraser Partners on Reconnecting Canada

Jun 11, 2020

The connectivity of streams and river habitats are vital to fish, and so is the proper installation of road culverts and bridges crossing these waterways.

West Fraser is proud to sign on as a Reconnecting Canada Conservation Partner to Trout Unlimited Canada’s program. The Reconnecting Canada initiative aims to reconnect a million miles of aquatic habitats in the country.

“Our Company knows that the health of our waterways is a vital part of being stewards of the forest. Our forestry teams dedicate hours of work on projects throughout the forest lands we manage. Building and maintaining the roads and bridges people use within them is an integral part of our stewardship activities, and has a very positive impact across the broader landscape,” says D’Arcy Henderson, VP of Canadian Woodlands.

“In our Sundre forest management area, for example, we’ve improved more than 30 kilometres of reconnected fish habitat. We are very supportive of Trout Unlimited Canada’s ambitions and what we can do in our everyday activities to improve habitat management in our eco-system-based approach to forest management.”

Partners in this program commit to:

  • Improving fish passage on vital tributaries
  • Developing solutions for fish passage and address stream fragmentation issues
  • Sharing the message online with our employees and the greater community

“West Fraser and Trout Unlimited Canada have partnered on several projects together to reconnect fish habitat, and look forward to continuing to identify new areas for collaboration,” adds Silvia D’Amelio, CEO of Trout Unlimited.

Years of Waterway Projects

West Fraser has a well-established track record of reconnecting waterways in our forest management areas, among other water stewardship projects.

For more than 25 years at Sundre Forest Products, the forestry team has been inspecting structures, such as bridges and culverts, to ensure safe passage for fish. There have been more than three-thousand bridge inspections and nearly 11 thousand culvert inspections. Projects, such as work on the Cripple Creek tributary, means removing ineffective structures and building bridges to allow for the proper passage for fish. There has been a 20+ year working partnership with the Alberta Conservation Association, to work on projects such as these and to make collected information available to the public.

Our team in Hinton have been busy working on MacKenzie Creek. The Albertan waterway is protected from angling and other activities because it is the site of bull trout and Athabasca rainbow trout spawning and habitat. But over the years, the use of off-highway vehicles has led to sediment in the water supply, which adversely impacts these species. The project team has been rerouting these trails and creating alternate crossings to prevent this from happening.

Our Company is also an active member of the Forest Management Wetland Stewardship, and last September, we signed on to another three-year commitment. This program, in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited Canada, allows forestry representatives to pool their resources to enhance and conserve wetlands. You can learn more about the collaborative work by reviewing the Wetlands Guide.

Trout Unlimited Canada’s overall mission is to conserve, protect, and restore Canada’s freshwater ecosystem. A team of experts are leading the volunteers and partners to make a country-wide change to better connect these waterways. Read more about the Reconnecting Canada initiative and their projects: https://tucanada.org/