The Tom Berry Gravel Pit (also known as Starrett Pond to Hope locals) was created immediately adjacent to the Fraser River near the town of Hope, B.C., to provide material for the Coquihalla highway construction in the 1980’s. Due to its proximity to the river, it is seasonally inundated when the Fraser River rises during the spring freshet. Chinook, sockeye and coho juvenile salmon can sometimes enter the pit during the spring when the river is high, but are stranded when the river recedes and becomes disconnected from the pit. Once this happens, the salmon become stranded in the pit and cannot complete their life cycle. The Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition has partnered with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other government agencies and stakeholders to pursue reclamation and restoration of the Tom Berry Gravel Pit so that it becomes productive habitat for fish and wildlife.
This year’s work will occur between August 15, 2018 and August 31, 2018. Work will involve the use of heavy machinery including excavators, bobcats and dump trucks to begin restoring this floodplain area. During this time, pedestrian access for this property will be temporarily restricted in an effort to maximize site safety.
In the fall 2018 (between October and November), a free community tree and shrub planting event will be hosted. Volunteers will help restore the riparian area in the gravel pit (more information can be found at https://fvwc.ca/get-involved/
While this projects primary focus is to reconnect and address fish stranding issues and return the gravel pit into natural floodplain habitat; many other values will be incorporated in the project design, including biodiversity values, cultural values and potential recreational values such as the formalization of the existing trail network.
Funding has been graciously provided by a DFO grant: Coastal Restoration Fund for $776,525 to restore Tom Berry Pit over the next 4 years (2017-2021).