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If You Clean It Up... They Will Come - Salmon Return to Burnaby Creeks

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In 2010 we went up to Adams River at the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park outside Kamloops to view what has been the largest sockeye salmon run to return and spawn in living memory. It was amazing.

http://www.theglobea.../article630948/

And a stunning video of that historic run (watch it in 720p):

My father has talked about how the clean-up around the naval drydocks at Esquimalt resulted in returns of salmon and herring to the area and in fact fish and crabs were found in the drydock once emptied where for decades no fish were found due to pollution.

And in Burnaby the same thing has happened with urban creeks once so polluted that nothing would live in them. Chum salmon are returning to spawn in numbers not seen for 80 years.

Record numbers of chum salmon are returning to urban creeks in Burnaby, B.C., to spawn.

Crowds gathered on Saturday at Buckingham Creek — a tiny, shallow waterway that passes under a large parking lot and runs into Deer Lake — to watch the salmon spawn.

Naturalists believe a handful of salmon might have reached the creek in previous years, but say this is the biggest run in 80 years.

The salmon were part of a run that went up the Fraser River, through the Brunette River and into Burnaby Lake.

“A lot of them went up Still Creek, which runs not only through Burnaby but well into Vancouver,” said Mark Angelo with the Rivers Institute.

“We've had large numbers of salmon right up the Grandview Highway right in the heart of Vancouver and that's the first time that's occurred in 80 years."

Still Creek was once one of the most polluted streams in the province — a collection of urban garbage, sewage and toxic chemicals.

"The attitudes have changed tremendously,” said naturalist George Clulow.

"One thing that's going on here is that the city has done a tremendous amount, in this park in particular ... to preserve the habitat, the wild areas."

The numbers of salmon arriving this year in small urban creeks is seen as a pay-off — and a reminder to never give up on those waterways.

"If we protect habitat, we act as stewards for salmon, then we can turn things around,” Angelo said. "And my hope is the salmon run we're seeing here this year is just the first of many we'll see in future."

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...wn-burnaby.html

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Apparently they had salmon running up the creek in the park next door to the condos my GF and I used to live in in Burnaby by Edmonds station.

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Apparently they had salmon running up the creek in the park next door to the condos my GF and I used to live in in Burnaby by Edmonds station.

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Does that mean I can swim in Deer Lake again? This is pretty cool though although Chum will spawn just about anywhere. I'm not sure they are the best indicator of how healthy a river is but it is still a great start. Now if only they would stop damming the damn rivers. Don't get me started on the Aboriginal fishermen.

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Lol just imagine what the Fraser could have in it, if it wasn't for the 4+ pulp mills dumping in it :)

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What great news. We need to keep it up and ensure all our waterways are as clean as possible.

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That would be Byrne Creek and they can be seen in Byrne Creek Ravine just behind the station and I walk the trails in that area regularly. Here is a video taken last month:

However the creek is still fragile and subject to chemical spills:

Salmon in Burnaby's Byrne Creek appear to be making a comeback after years of chemical spills.

Streamkeeper Paul Cipywnyk said volunteers have counted 36 spawning salmon - that's three times more than 2010, the year when two chemical spills wiped out the creek's fish.

"It's really nice to see fish back," Cipywnyk said. "Last year, the numbers were so low. We had new volunteers come out, and it was kind of depressing because we had nothing to show them."

Spawning season typically runs from mid-October to the end of November, but this season wrapped up in late December, Cipywnyk said. Every year, volunteers patrol the creek and count each fish they find. The best year was 2004 with 91 spawners. But since then, numbers have been declining, to a low of 10 in 2009. Last year, there were only 13.

Cipywnyk is not sure what affects the spawners' numbers.

"It's kind of a mystery. We don't really know why the numbers fluctuate, but we are really happy this year," he said. "Some of it in the past may have been caused by some of those spills."

Byrne Creek has suffered four spills since 2006. In 2010, two spills wiped out the creek's fish population, which streamkeepers try to bolster every year by releasing chum fry and coho smolts.

This spawning season, volunteers also spotted 14 "redds" or salmon nests.

"If we stay pollutionfree, we should have fry popping up in the creek, which will be excellent," Cipywnyk said.

Elmer Rudolph, of the Sapperton Fish and Game Club, also noted more coho and chum returning via the Brunette River.

This year and last, roughly 100 salmon returned, while a typical year will see about half that.

According to Rudolph, coho numbers in general have been down all throughout the south coast and the Fraser River tributaries for the last seven or eight years.

http://www.burnabyno...l#ixzz2C2ne5Uar

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Does that mean I can swim in Deer Lake again? This is pretty cool though although Chum will spawn just about anywhere. I'm not sure they are the best indicator of how healthy a river is but it is still a great start. Now if only they would stop damming the damn rivers. Don't get me started on the Aboriginal fishermen.

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This is great news, but honestly I still wouldn't swim in Deer Lake, lol.

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This warmes my heart,but still more needed to be done

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If redevelopment was allowed on a larger scale more often it would be more feasible to dig up the piped streams that went all over the region (and create nice walking paths along the top of the new banks at the same time).

Unfortunately most of the now closed up streams are in Vancouver so that won't be happening.

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