Category Archives: Streamkeeping

Alta Vista Community Picnic in South Burnaby Great Fun

The Alta Vista Park Community Picnic in South Burnaby is always a great event. It’s truly a community gathering, and the organizers are excellent.

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers have participated for many years, and it’s one of our favourite events.

Some photos from yesterday:

Alta Vista Park Picnic - Streamkeeepers
Byrne Creek Streamkeepers booth

Alta Vista Park Picnic - Pols and Orgnaizers
Organizers with local politicians

alta_vista_2_20140913
Arts and crafts

Alta Vista Park Picnic - Fire TruckBurnaby Fire Department

Alta Vista Park Picnic - Mini GolfMini golf

Alta Vista Park Picnic - Air Guitar ContestAir guitar contest led by the popular band Rainshadow

Streamkeeper Training in North Vancouver

I attended a one-day streamkeeper training course in North Vancouver hosted by the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation. We covered modules 2, 3, and 4 from the Streamkeepers Handbook.

I figured it was about time I had a refresher, since it must be around ten years ago that I originally took the training.

It was a lovely, sunny day, and a great group of people.

You can check out some photos I took in this Flickr album.

Streamkeeper training North Vancouver

Yet Another Poorly Designed Survey

Just took a survey sent to me by an NGO resource organization. I like to be helpful, so I often take the time to answer surveys.

The survey was mostly about HR, and as I worked my way through the questions I kept typing in that our streamkeeper society is 100% volunteer, with zero employees. Finally, the last couple of questions in the survey included “how many employees do you have?” Why the heck wasn’t that one of the first questions?

And then the last question was what category did our annual budget fall into. The lowest category was less than $500,000/year. Seeing as our annual budget is $1,000 (the amount of our annual grant from the Fisheries and Oceans SEP program), that was the category I chose, but damn! Out by 500X, eh?

Small Sockeye This Year?

I bought our first wild sockeye of the season at Save-On Foods in Burnaby, BC, today.

It was small, weighing in at 0.686 kg, or about 1.5 lbs. Of course that’s sans head and guts, but it still appeared undersized. All of the sockeye at Save-On looked small. Certainly way smaller than the pinks I fished on the Fraser last year.

Come to think of it, the fish looked not much bigger than a coho jack — a male coho salmon that returns to spawn a year early.

According to the DFO Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Guide, a sockeye “usually weighs between 2.2 kg and 3.1 kg, but can reach 6.3 kg.”

UPDATE: I’ve been looking into this online, Googling and reading academic papers, and have come to the conclusion that while small, this fish was likely not an outlier.

Most research and reporting on fish sizes and weights presents “average” ranges, and it’s hard to find information about what the usual minimum weights are. However I did find the following on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada government website:

“Commercially caught sockeye range in weight from 2 to 9 pounds and are graded according to size: 2-4 lbs., 4-6 lbs., and 6-9 lbs.”

So I guess that 1.5-pound dressed fish was not an outlier.

Touring Byrne Creek with Vancouver Retired Teachers

A walking club from the Vancouver Retired Teachers contacted me a few months ago to ask for a tour of Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby. They walk regularly every Wednesday, all over Vancouver, Burnaby, and the north shore. I was happy to accompany them around the creek and ravine park today.

We covered the ravine loop in just over two hours, with plenty of time along the way to enjoy nature, and talk about urban streamkeeping and biodiversity. I am passionate about nature in the city, so I can blather on for hours, but they politely insisted at the end of the tour that they’d found it all very interesting : -).

And in a surprising gesture, they passed the hat at the end of the tour and came up with nearly $80 to donate to the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society. Wow! I was really touched, since our group is 100% volunteer and we have never charged for tours.

I enjoyed the morning outing. It’s wonderful getting out into nature, fresh air and sunshine, talking with a group of convivial folks, and getting some exercise all at the same time!

Vancouver Retired Teacher tour Byrne Creek

Shocked to See Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby Milky for 2nd Day

I was shocked to see that Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC, was running milky for the second day in a row. You can see my photos from yesterday below in an earlier post.

This is the third day in a week that someone has been discharging something into the creek. Volunteer streamkeepers haven’t seen any dead or distressed fish, but this amount of sediment occurring so frequently cannot be good for life in the creek.

The City of Burnaby has been swift to respond, sending out staff to try to backtrack the sources of these illegal discharges. Of course staff cannot say much while investigations are ongoing, but I hope they are successful.

While a fine or two would be great to make perpetrators sit up and take notice, I am generally not gunning for punitive measures. Education and outreach are key in the long run.

UPDATE: As of late afternoon, City staff had traced the source to a broken line on private property that was seeping and carrying silt into a drain.  As is often the case, it was unintentional, and will be fixed.

UPDATE 2: As of 6:30 pm, I received a report from another volunteer streamkeeper that a “deluge” of water was passing through Griffith’s Pond, and that she had contacted the City of Burnaby, and had been told there was a watermain break somewhere upstream. How many hits can this poor creek take in a day, much less in a week?

Here’s what Griffith’s Pond near Edmonds Skytrain Station looked like as of 7:00 pm tonight:

still milky byrne creek

Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby Turns Milky

Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby was running milky today. All drains on streets and parking lots lead to local creeks!

I don’t know what the substance was, but local streamkeeper volunteers first shared the info just after 1:00 pm today, and as I walked the creek from 2:30 to 3:30 it was still running milky.

City of Burnaby staff were out trying to track the source through the storm system.

This is the second such event in a week! Last week the creek was running silty brown from what appeared to be construction-site silt.

Here are some shots of today’s event:

MIlky Byrne CreekThe pond near Griffiths Dr.

MIlky Byrne CreekThe outflow from the pond into the creek

MIlky Byrne CreekClose-up of the milky flow

MIlky Byrne Creek
Further down the creek, near the playground at Ron McLean Park

 

Sediment Enters Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby

Somebody was being naughty today, allowing sediment to flow into Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby.

Vigilant streamkeepers reported the ugly looking and potentially fish-killing pollution to the City of Burnaby. Thanks to the volunteers who keep “eyes on the creek” and immediately notify the City of any problems. And thanks to City staff who responded quickly.

It was obvious which storm pipe the sediment came from, as can be seen in the photos below.

Sediment in Byrne Creek in Burnaby, BC
If you were a fish, amphibian, aquatic insect, or any other animal, do you think you’d like to be swimming in that?

Source of sediment entering Byrne Creek in BurnabyHere you can clearly see that the sediment entered the creek through this storm outlet.

Sediment in Byrne CreekAnother view. The flow here in the upper portion of the creek on a dry day is so slow that this “slug” of sediment was barely moving. It’ll take a rain to flush it out of the creek.