Category Archives: Streamkeeping

Streamkeepers Will be Watching Liberal Platform Implementation

As a long-time streamkeeper volunteer, I look forward to positive change on fisheries and environmental files under the new government. The following is what was in the Liberal platform in regard to “water.” It will take time for change to happen, but the stewardship community will be keeping a close eye on the implementation of these promises.

We will protect our freshwater and oceans.

Canada is uniquely blessed with an abundance of freshwater, and marine and coastal areas that are not only ecologically diverse, but also economically significant: our ocean-based industries contribute nearly $40 billion each year to the Canadian economy.

To protect these valuable natural resources, we will deliver more robust and credible environmental assessments for all projects that could impact our freshwater and oceans.

Freshwater
We will treat our freshwater as a precious resource that deserves protection and careful stewardship. We will work with other orders of government to protect Canada’s freshwater using education, geo-mapping, watershed protection, and investments in the best wastewater treatment technologies.

To protect our freshwater ecosystems, we will renew our commitment to protect the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River Basin, and the Lake Winnipeg Basin. We will also act on the recommendations of the Cohen Commission on restoring sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser River.

To aid in making the best possible decisions, we will restore $1.5 million in annual federal funding for freshwater research – a program that was cut by the Conservatives – and make new investments in Canada’s world-leading IISD Experimental Lakes Area.

Oceans
Stephen Harper’s failure to meet our international commitments to protect marine and coastal areas puts these areas and our international reputation at risk.

We will make up for Conservative inaction and increase the amount of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that are protected – to five percent by 2017, and ten percent by 2020. To help achieve this, we will invest $8 million per year in community consultation and science.

We will also directly invest in ocean science. Stephen Harper cut $40 million from the federal ocean science and monitoring programs. We will restore that funding so that we can protect the health of our fish stocks, monitor contaminants and pollution in our oceans, and support responsible and sustainable aquaculture industries on our coasts.

We will use scientific evidence and the precautionary principle, and take into account climate change, when making decisions affecting fish stocks and ecosystem management.

And we will do a better job of co-managing our oceans, by working with the provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, and other stakeholders. Together, we will develop plans that make the best use of our marine resources and give coastal communities more say in managing the resources around them.

Putting up Dog Posters Along Byrne Creek

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers create whimsical and funny dog posters to put up along the creek in the fall to remind dog walkers that salmon are coming back to spawn. We have excellent relations with dogs and their owners — they are out there nearly every day and are excellent “eyes on the creek.”

Over the years dog walkers have come to expect the posters, and even start asking about them if they are not up by mid-October.

We have permission from Burnaby Parks to put these posters up, and we use zap-straps to attach them to trees without harming them.

yumi dog posters
Yumi preparing a poster

yumi dog poster

yumi dog poster
Yumi’s latest creation

maho dog poster
Maho’s dog poster

yumi scream dog poster
Gee, wonder where Yumi got the inspiration for this one? : -)

dog poster bridge
Attaching a poster to the footbridge

 

Super Wild Research & Byrne Ck Streamkeepers Fish ID Workshop

Wee fishies give  young biologists joy : -).

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers volunteers and Wild Research members enjoyed a fish ID workshop this morning, and then we went out and retrieved traps from Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby.

Thanks to biologist Jim Roberts of Hemmera, who gave an excellent presentation on the complexities of identifying salmonids and other BC freshwater fish.

Note all fish are released unharmed.

Fish Trapping Byrne Creek

And thanks to Burnaby-Edmonds MLA Raj Chouhan for hosting the morning in-class session in his community office.

Lovely Day at Alta Vista Park Community Picnic

It was a lovely sunny day today at the Alta Vista Park Community Picnic in south Burnaby. This event has been happening annually for, I believe, over 25 years. Just local folks, mostly women, organizing this small fundraiser to keep the park equipment updated and in good shape.

Volunteers from the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society have been attending this event for around ten years or more. We love this event because it’s NOT an environmental event, it’s truly a local community party, and it’s a great chance to talk to folks about their local watersheds and streams.

Here are a few photos from today:

alta vista park picnic
Local faves Rainshadow perform

alta vista park picnic
City of Burnaby Parks and Rec crafts table

alta vista park picnic
Clowning around…

Homelessness task force
Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness

alta vista park picnic
Hot dogs!

alta vista park picnic
Air guitar contest

alta vista park picnic
Byrne Creek Streamkeepers display

alta vista park picnic
Folks checking out 3D watershed map – cool!

Volunteers Go All Out on Byrne Ck Bug Count

Wow, thanks to everyone who helped with the bug count on Byrne Creek in southeast Burnaby, BC, today. We went full out (10 volunteers for a total of 35 volunteer hours) and got all nine sites sampled and counted in one day — something that usually takes three days to do!
 
While the totals haven’t been tallied yet, as we surmised, it was pretty slim pickings.
 
Byrne Creek Bug Count
Using a D-net to take a sample. The variety and quantity of aquatic bugs is a good indication of water quality. Unfortunately, Byrne Creek regularly runs poor to marginal, or 1.5 – 2 on a scale of 4, using the methodology in module 4 of The Streamkeepers Handbook.
Byrne Creek pollution
And here’s why we have poor water quality in the creek. As we were taking our last sample today just upstream of Edmonds Skytrain Station, a slug of milky blue stuff came down the creek. We immediately reported it to City of Burnaby Environmental and they sent a tech out to try to find where it was coming from.
Bug count
Years ago we learned how to count in comfort. Here we are in a volunteer’s kitchen with coffee and muffins.
Byrne Creek bug
A Byrne Creek monster!
sample pails
There you go! Nine sites sampled in one day!

Fun & Informative Nature Tour of Byrne Creek

Pamela Zevit of the South Coast Conservation Program led a fun and informative nature tour on Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby today.

Byrne Creek nature tour
Checking out Pamela’s bags of goodies — snail shells, feathers, and other cool stuff.

I’ve been volunteering with the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers for over a decade, and I always enjoy getting out in the park and down in the ravine with knowledgeable folks, be they biologists, or birders, or geologists… There is always something to learn!

Thanks to the City of Burnaby Parks Department for organizing such tours. I’ll be leading one on Byrne Creek on Nov. 14 to look for spawning salmon. More info here.

Byrne Creek Lamprey

There have been some questions about lamprey on the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers mailing list.

Byrne Creek Burnaby LampreyHere’s one that I shot just below the stop log in the sediment pond on July 30 this summer. It was about 15 cm long, give or take a few.

They may seem icky for their snake-like appearance and because many are by nature parasitic, but they are part of the great scheme of things, and have coexisted with salmon, trout and other fish for millennia.

We have observed them spawning in Byrne Creek, in the lower ravine, and in the sediment pond. They are actually quite beautiful to watch when they are mating for they dance and twine together.