Another Coho Smolt Kill on Byrne Creek, Burnaby, BC

I got a call from City of Burnaby staff today that people were reporting dead fish in Byrne Creek. Sure enough, yet another first-flush road-wash coho kill.

coho smolt kill byrne creek burnaby bc
This is how the creek was running during the rain on Monday. Photo by volunteer Joan.

We released 3,700 coho smolts last Thursday. It rained Monday, and the creek was running awfully dirty. I will add a photo by another volunteer of the dirty creek.

This has been happening for many years on Byrne Creek. We pray for no rain following a coho smolt release, because if road wash enters the creek while the coho are still in the system, they die by the hundreds.

Recent research by Dr. Jen McIntyre at Washington State University points to a chemical in tires that is toxic particularly to coho.

I met a City staffer for a walkabout. I counted four or five dozen dead smolts beteween the sediment pond and the downstream side of Byrne Bridge.

There were several happy herons about, and with this kill likely occuring Monday/Tuesday, probably dozens if not hundreds of dead smolts had been scarfed already. Mother Nature’s cleanup crew is fast and efficient!