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1.7-million-dollar project will “wake-up” Unwin Creek Salmon habitat

Historic logging operations devastated once-rich salmon runs and now Tla’amin Nation plans to bring them back.

December 5, 2023

Tla’amin Nation has started a four-year project to restore access for salmon to Unwin Creek and the watershed. The project is supported by Klahoose Nation and funded by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. 

Improving food security is critical to the health and wellbeing of Tla’amin Nation and is outlined as goal 19 in the Comprehensive Nation Plan. 

“It’s our responsibility to take care of the land so that salmon can thrive.” said Hegus John Hackett. “The Unwin Creek project is an important step in fulfilling that responsibility and our promise to future generations of continued access to wild salmon.” 

The creek was blocked in the 1920’s by logging operators who redirected Unwin Creek to facilitate log transport between Unwin Lake and Tenedos Bay. The man-made creek was straighter and steeper and included four barriers to fish passage which stopped migration of salmonids into Unwin Lake.

Throughout the project, Tla’amin Nation is pursuing nature-based solutions rather than “hard” infrastructure by focusing on the restoration of natural processes (i.e., nature-based solutions), including reconnecting of Unwin Lake and Tenedos Bay using the old creek channel and existing natural water flow processes. The project applies a climate change lens, and all actions will work to fortify the environment against the negative impacts of global warming. 

The four-year project will be complete in 2027. The Tla’amin Nation Fisheries department will explore options to assist in stocking Unwin Lake in the future.

Lands and Resources Director, Denise Smith says “The Unwin Creek restoration project wakes-up an important fish habitat that has been sleeping for over 70 years. The project will benefit not only Tla’amin Nation, but all residents in the region who rely on salmon.”

Unwin Creek is located within Desolation Sound Marine Park so once restoration is complete, its ongoing protection is guaranteed.  


Davis McKenzie 




“The Government of Canada is proud to provide funding to Tla’amin Nation through our Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Fund for important restoration work in the Unwin Lake watershed. Tla’amin’s innovative project will support the re-establishment of Pacific salmon populations, creating long term sustainability and protection of this coastal aquatic habitat.”

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard


The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans provided 1.7 million dollars for the four-year project

The project includes the following activities:

  • 2023/24 (Year 1): Conduct investigations to further assess fish passage into Unwin Lake and potential restoration options to improve anadromous fish passage and productivity.
  • 2024/25 (Year 2): Review Year 1 investigations and determine best option for restoration then conduct restoration design, permitting and construction planning.
  • 2025/26 (Year 3): Execute leading restoration option identified in Year 2 investigations then monitor.
  • 2026/27 (Year 4): Continued monitoring and assess potential to enhance the system once restoration activities are completed to support the re-establishment of anadromous fish populations to Unwin watershed.

For more information about the project, please contact sachi.ouchi@tn-bc.ca