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In-stream restoration is intended to improve fish habitat within the stream channel. As such, it is very complicated work, requiring comprehensive knowledge and understanding of fish habitat requirements, geomorphology, hydrology, and potential negative impacts on fish populations during and after in-stream projects.

All in-stream projects are conducted during the in-stream window for salmon-bearing watercourses (August 15 to September 15) and adhere to all regulations in the Canada Fisheries Act.

LEPS in-stream projects fall into one of the following three categories:

  • Removal of Barriers to Fish Access
  • Creation of “Stream Complexing” features
  • Construction of In-stream Livestock Crossings

In-stream Project Statistics:

  • 19 different sites, including 6 publicly accessible sites
  • Projects have been completed in 6 different watersheds
  • 700m of stream has been “complexed”
  • 64 in-stream habitat features have been added
  • 6,000m of streams are now accessible
If you are planning to modify a watercourse in any way, it is your responsibility to make sure you comply with all applicable regulations!
To learn more about what is required, the following link can serve as a starting point:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Working in or Around Water


Removal of Barriers to Fish Access

Many streams have been blocked by obstructions to fish passage, such as dams and impassable culverts. In these cases, the goal of in-stream restoration projects is to remove the obstruction or construct an alternate fish passage around the barrier. Successful completion of this kind of in-stream work often allows salmon to return to kilometers of spawning grounds and other habitats that have been inaccessible for years due to human activities.


Creation of “Stream Complexing”

Creation of “Stream Complexing” features creation of marsh benches to help filter pollutants and provide shelter to fish and other aquatic species.

The placement of large boulders and rootwads also improves the complexity of in-stream habitats and provides shade and shelter for fish.

Construction of Livestock Crossings

Livestock crossings reduce the impacts of horses and cattle on stream-banks and down-stream habitat. When livestock cross streams, their hooves trample the streamside vegetation, leading to habitat loss.

Instream Project Examples

Campbell Valley Regional Park (2000)

The purpose of this project was to improve and increase coho salmon spawning habitat, stream complexity (pool development) and dissolved oxygen content. The proposed work involved the addition of rock weirs, boulder clusters, large organic debris (e.g. rootwads), and rock and log deflectors.

How to get involved:

LEPS is only able to accomplish in-stream projects with the help of passionate, trained volunteers. If you are interested in receiving training and assisting with in-stream projects, sign up for our monthly newsletter to find out when the next training session and in-stream project will take place.