Volunteer streamkeepers are elated to see salmon coming back to spawn in Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC. If it rains, the fish start returning in mid-October, but this year we didn’t see any until nearly the end of the month.
We count live salmon and note their species and location, and when they die, we process the carcasses — species, size, sex, and for females whether or not they have spawned and their eggs are gone.
In the foreground you can see a coho female that we processed. We cut the carcasses in half after collecting data, so that we don’t count them again. We return the carcasses to the creek for they provide nutrients to the ecosystem.
Unfortunately this coho female died before spawning. We found her full of roe. This is a recurring problem on Byrne Creek. Studies in WA state have shown that runoff from roads can carry a toxic brew that is lethal to coho, with death from such exposure happening within hours.
We get so few salmon back to Byrne Creek that every one found unspawned is a small tragedy that chips away at volunteers’ spirits.