The Fraser River Discovery Centre in New Westminster, BC, had several tours today sharing First Nations fishing and fish-preserving techniques.
It was interesting learning about the cleaning, filleting, and wind-drying process to preserve salmon, and we got to try our hands out sharpening Indigenous tools.
An exercise sorting cleaning, filleting and wind drying into proper order.
Checking out the BC watersheds map, with a focus on the mighty Fraser River
The protected White Sturgeon
Yep, these massive, ancient (both in terms of time on Earth, and lifespan) fish come from such tiny eggs. Amazing!
I was happy to see these reminders for boaters to clean their watercraft to help contain the spread of invasive species. These were on the Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon, just steps from the hotel where I attended the Editors Canada national conference.
The Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver was giving a presentation to the Anmore Garden Club, and I thought I’d head out early and spend some time at Belcarra Regional Park.
Cute Canada Goose family:
Sockeye sandwich with mixed vegetables
One day after schoolchildren released coho smolts into Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC, fish were found dying. Studies show that coho are particularly sensitive to road wash that contains a toxic combination of pollutants including gasoline, oil, antifreeze, and metals.
They actually try to swim with their heads above the water as they try to escape the pollutants
It would likely help if the City of Burnaby council would actually implement the Byrne Creek Integrated Stormwater Management Plan and the Environmental Sustainability Strategy.
The watershed needs rain gardens, swales, and biofiltration ponds. The more road wash that is intercepted and naturally filtered in the ground the better.
UPDATE: I sent this to Dr. Jenifer McIntyre, a professor at Washington State University, who has been researching the impacts of road runoff on salmon. She shared a link to her latest published study comparing road runoff effects on coho vs chum.
Run Silent, Run Deep
A large coho still hanging out in the sediment pond in the artificial habitat at Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby.
We think it’s a “she” because there’s a coho jack (early male returnee but sexually capable) that’s been hanging with her for a couple of days now.
Anyone got some underwater mood music?
Volunteers with the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society are seeing more coho prespawn mortality this season. That’s when coho that return to spawn die before they can do so.
This has been a recurring problem on the creek over the years, and is likely due to polluted road wash that carries contaminants into the water. There are ongoing studies in Washington State that point to a toxic brew of contaminants in stormwater as being lethal to coho, which seem particularly susceptible to it.
We found this coho male today
And this coho female full of eggs a couple of days ago
We get so few coho back to Byrne Creek that we treasure every one, and it’s so sad to see them die without completing their life cycle.
We desperately need to infiltrate water washed off from roads and parking lots into the ground through swales and rain gardens. The ground acts as a natural filter. Yet the Byrne Creek watershed in Burnaby, BC, is seeing more and more ground paved over despite hundreds of hours of professional and public input into Stormwater Management Plans and a recent Environmental Sustainability Strategy.
Note that it is illegal to interfere with spawning salmon. Streamkeepers have training and permission to process dead salmon to collect data on species, size, spawning status, etc. We return the carcasses to the creek after processing as they provide food and nutrients to other fish, animals and the overall ecosystem.
UPDATE (Dec. 7, 2017): More research coming from the US northwest.
The volunteer Salmonid Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board to the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans met in Gibsons, BC, for a 2-1/2 day meeting this weekend. Thanks to local stewardship volunteers who showed us around! Here are some shots taken over the weekend.
We had a great working weekend, got lots done, and have lots of things to share with DFO Pacific Regional HQ.
The ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale
Me and Jan on the ferry. Thanks to my wife Yumi for this photo. I represent the North Side of the Fraser River from Burnaby to Mission, and Jan is a rep from the north coast.
Getting down to work
Great presentations from DFO
Some happy guy who just loves meetings! 🙂
A local Gibsons, BC, icon, that will be familiar to lots of Canadians of certain generations.
Now that’s a huge 3D watershed map!
Hopeful heron wishing the nets at the hatchery were not quite so effective 🙂
Gotta goof around a bit to stay sane, eh?
Eagles checking us out as we were checking out the hatchery
Gotta go to sleep, early shift tomorrow, but hearing what sounds like a few drops outside my window in south #Burnaby makes me happy.
Yes, I’m happy at the chill in the air, and the looming precipitation. Rain means salmon are coming. . .
All ya folks out there sad at the rain and the dark, get thee back outside, and feel, touch, smell the season.
Autumn is glorious, especially here in the lower mainland of BC.
Every couple of years the sediment trap upstream of the artificial spawning channel on Byrne Ck in SE Burnaby needs to be cleaned out. Enviro techs, City staff, and volunteer streamkeepers salvage fish, lamprey, crayfish, etc. with nets and move them downstream as the water is pumped down.
It’s hot, muddy work, but also great fun to see what turns up!
Check out FraserFest 2017 Events!
FraserFEST 2017 celebrates our watersheds with a series of river adventures and wild salmon feasts in communities along the Fraser River.