All posts by Paul Cipywnyk

Salmon Run is Ending on Byrne Creek, Sharing Some Love

As the salmon spawning season draws to a close on urban Byrne Creek in south Burnaby, BC, I have a few thoughts. . .

Thank you to the dog walkers who ask us when the “keep your dogs out of the creek” posters will go up. You’re some of our best eyes on the creek! You’re out there every day.

Thanks to City of Burnaby Parks who approve posting the posters and oversee invasive plant removals, and thanks to City of Burnaby Engineering who follow up when volunteers report issues with water quality.

I also want to thank the increasing numbers of folks who are aware there are salmon in this urban creek, and who stop and chat with streamkeeper volunteers and ask how the run is going.

It’s emotional for me when the spawner run draws to a close. I feel bereft until I start spotting fry in the creek in the spring.

Yes, we do see alevin popping out of the gravel in the spring, and watch as they become fry.  It’s a wonder to behold and cherish.

I’m a prairie boy, Yumi is a northern Japan girl, and we have a common passion in BC salmon that started soon after we moved here some 20 years ago.

A lot of that goes to mentors like Stream of Dreams Murals Society founders Joan Carne and Louise Towell, and ZoAnn Morten of the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation, and our DFO Community Advisors over the years, Maurice and now Scott. . .

Streamkeepers in British Columbia are an amazing community.

We’ve had some hard years, and we’ve had too many low runs.

Here’s to making things better!

Salmon Run Ending on Burnaby’s Byrne Creek

This pair may well be our last spawning salmon on Byrne Creek in south Burnaby this year.

spawned coho byrne creek burnaby

The run started late and is ending late.

Nice to see that the female was completely spawned, not an egg to be found. Look at her totally abraded tail — she’d been digging hard in the gravel, making a nest for her eggs and covering them up . . .

We didn’t spot any live ones today.

NOTE: Streamkeepers have training and permission to monitor spawning salmon and assess them for species, size, spawning status, etc., after they die. Please keep your dogs on leash around creeks and streams, and stay on trails. And remember that the eggs will remain hidden in the gravel until they start hatching in the spring.

Respecting Wildlife Without Making Life a Disney Movie

I’m an animal lover. I’m a wildlife and nature photographer. I’ve always had pets, always cared for them to their dying days. . .

But I think some folks are ignoring reality when it comes to animals.

Humans are terrible? Sure, some are, hopefully not too many. Of course we’ve had huge impacts on wildlife, not to mention on each other.

And factory “farming” is gross and disgusting.

But have you ever watched a large cat disembowel an ungulate, and start eating its stomach and organs while the ungulate is still alive?

Ever watched an eagle or an owl stripping flesh off of a still-quivering rodent?

Ever seen a 12cm coho smolt gulp down a 6cm chum fry?

Is that somehow better than us killing?

Nature is not Disney. It never has been, and it never will be.

I think Disney and its ilk have done a huge disservice to children who’ve fallen under their spell.

Predators are not sci-fi movies or documentaries. Predators are daily life, starting from plankton all the way up the food chain to carnivorous mammals. . .

That does not mean that humans cannot reduce their footprint by reducing meat consumption etc.

But let’s not somehow put wildlife up on pedestals as shining examples of harmony and love and whatever. . . .

Humans Are Terrible at ‘Managing’ Wildlife

Something I think we need to keep in mind when thinking about issues such as “culling” wolves and seals, or working with species at risk, or habitat loss, or sustainability, or climate change, etc., is that here in British Columbia, our homo sapiens species has gone from a population of about 55,000 in 1851 to some 4,648,000 in 2016.

That’s an 85X increase in only 165 years.

And our population continues to grow at 5.6% a year.

Caribou? Elk? Wolves? Seals? All a drop in the bucket compared to our numbers. . .