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.
If you’re involved in environmental issues in Canada in any way, be it as a volunteer, consultant, NGO staff member, etc., you may be interested in contributing feedback to this discussion paper.
Environmental and Regulatory Reviews: Discussion Paper
Our Government is committed to deliver environmental assessment and regulatory processes that regain public trust, protect the environment, introduce modern safeguards, advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, ensure good projects go ahead, and resources get to market.
We made this commitment because we share common concerns about the ability of Canada’s environmental assessment and regulatory processes to protect and sustain the natural environment while getting resources to market and creating good, middle class jobs for Canadians. In the current system:
- There is a need for greater transparency around the science, data and evidence supporting decisions and to ensure Indigenous knowledge is sufficiently taken into account;
- Protections to Canada’s fisheries and waterways are insufficient; and,
- Indigenous peoples and the public should have more opportunities to meaningfully participate.
This discussion paper outlines the changes our Government is considering for Canada’s environmental assessment and regulatory processes that will:
- Regain public trust;
- Protect the environment;
- Advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples; and,
- Ensure good projects go ahead and resources get to market.
I tacked a few days on to my trip to Quesnel for SEP2017, the BC-wide streamkeepers workshop, so that I could relax and camp for a couple of days. Here are some shots from the road trip, and a lovely stay at Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park. All of these photos were taken with my new Canon SX720HS.
Here’s an example of the amazing 40X optical zoom, from widest to the telephoto limit.
The view a few steps from my campsite
White-winged Scoter at Ten Mile Lake north of Quesnel, BC. This is the first time I’ve seen this bird.
One of humankind’s greatest inventions :-). The folding chair with built-in cup holder.
OK, so I got a pack of dogs at Wal-Mart for $2.99, but at least I paired them with a baguette!
At the campfire wearing my Vancouver Half-Marathon T from a few years back. Hot dogs and beer — the athletes dinner. . .
Lots of trout jumping in the lake
The view from the fishing-only dock
There were several frogs near the boat launch
I admired this cute furball — it didn’t solicit any treats from me, just happily munched away on a healthy natural diet
Kids from Clinton Elementary in south Burnaby helped Byrne Creek Streamkeepers volunteers and DFO release coho smolts (yearling salmon) in Byrne Creek today.
It was a bittersweet event, as it was the last release on Byrne with retiring DFO Community Advisor Maurice Coulter-Boisvert.
But we’re very happy that long-time tech Scott is taking over Maurice’s role. Looking forward to working with you!
DFO and City of Burnaby staff share a laugh. It was that kind of uplifting day, and event, eh?
Byrne Creek Streamkeepers stalwart and Stream of Dreams co-founder Joan helps connect the kids to nature
Maurice on the salmon life cycle
Joan demonstrates proper fish release technique
Lining up to take fish down to the creek. The excitement is palpable. . . : – )
Netting coho smolts out of the tank, and putting them in baggies for the kids
Helping hands guide excited kids for a safe release
Look at them go!
Volunteer Ray points out how the fish quickly change color to match their new surroundings
They are so beautiful. Thanks so much to the volunteers at Kanaka Creek who raise these cuties!
Don’t mess with this crew : -)
Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society volunteers sampled nine sites on the creek today for bugs — AKA aquatic invertebrates. The types and quantities of bugs found are an indicator of water quality.
After the bugs are collected using D-nets, we retire to a volunteer’s home to count in comfort, accompanied by coffee, tea, and muffins.
Growing collection of mayflies
A cool aquatic snail
OK, let’s get one thing clear off the top. I love this knife, but I’m not homicidal. I just have a long history with this sturdy implement, and I admire its durability.
It’s a US Boy Scouts sheath knife circa 1970. I bought it when I was living in New York City, and was active with the local troop in my ‘hood, so it’s at least 45 years old.
It’s all original, including the leather sheath.
It has been much used, and, for a knife, abused. As you can surmise in the scars in the detailed photos below, it’s pounded nails, stripped 14/2 wiring, split kindling when an axe was not available and a rock was used to pound the blade into the wood. . . In addition to more “knifely” duties such as cleaning fish.
And it’s still solid, still takes a good edge, and will long outlive me. I may ask to have it buried with me when I depart, just in case there are zombies on the other side :-).
If you check the BSA online store, it appears nothing like this is available anymore.
I still take it hiking and camping, though I’ve retired it from streamkeeping — I have an excellent, inexpensive, plastic-handled stainless-steel knife from MEC for that duty now.