San Juan River Estuary ER#141 Field Trip
By Mary Rannie:
Members of the FER board who drove the 2 hour west coast road from Victoria to Port Renfrew on on August 28th, enjoyed a day greatly anticipated. Garry and Helen Fletcher, Marilyn Lambert andMary Rannie had never visited the nearby San Juan River Estuary, ER #141.
They are kept busy keeping track of the 17 illusive Roosevelt elk, 7 wolves, and the 4 cougar which also live there. They have seen seals in the river, green sturgeon (transients) which can reach 6 1/2 feet in length (3 colours observed, Alaskan and Californian), also cutthroat trout and Chinook salmon.
Ron and Diane took time from their busy days (made busier during Covid 19) to take us on a walk, which they do daily, up the river road for a view of the ER’s features. 2 ER signs identify entry points to the protected area, with its 11–12 1/2 foot tides, shifting banks and log jams.
When Ron and Diane returned home, their friend and neighbour, Kevin Neish, guided us via canoe and kayak up the river. We enjoyed his commentary and knowledge of every aspect of the area.
The First Nations Pacheedaht band, who use the estuary for annual 2 week food fishing are well aware of the ER designation. Evidence of occupation of a fishing camp was noted on a peninsula jutting into the river.
Below are some of the plants growing on the sandbars in the river.