Another spring has sprung so to speak, our counting fence has been in for the past month and already we have counted a total of -wait for it – 8 fish 7 Wild Coho all 2 year old + at around 145mm with 1 Rainbow Trout at 125mm. These are the forerunners of the fish that will begin to move down stream in ernest once the water temp begins to increase to around 10- 12 c. These Wild Coho have decided to stay an extra year in the lake due to its huge production of nutrients and year round wetted habitat. This shows how important the Beaver is to fish habitat, while impounding water for head-water storage [ slow release over the dry summer months] huge amounts of nutrients are produced from all the decaying matter and sediment deposition from the upper watershed. All this has also a huge impact on the proliferation of invertebrates, to use the correct vernacular – Bugs- which are also food for the fish and other animals who feed within the lake and around the stream as it carries all those life giving forces down stream delivering a nutrient load to the whole system and eventually the Salish Sea.
On the beach I observed a fellow removing small rocks for his garden, when I jokingly said “Oh that’s where all the beach goes ” he replied that as long as the sea keeps producing them then their should be lots for all. This brings into play where does the beach come from, as he did as most think the beach comes from the sea but in reality the beach comes from the land through foreshore erosion and from stream and river erosion. As the Wild Coho smolts make their way out into the Salish Sea and parts unknown they encounter many rocks,gravel, sand and fine sediment that came from thier own natal stream often being the very gravel that held their ancestors during their incubation.
As you drive out of Lantzville via Lantzville road take a look at the new stream sign at the crossing of Bloods Creek, this sign also bears a coast Salish word for Coho ” skʷexʷic “.
We choose this word for Bloods due to it being mainly a Wild Coho stream. More signs will be going up over the summer months on all crossings within Lantzville. As the finding of the original names from pre contact is almost impossible we have with consultation with the fisheries Manager of Snaw Naw As decided to name them for the fish that mainly use them. Hence Knarston Creek though also a Wild Coho stream it gets a good return of Sea Run Cutthroat Trout so we will add that name to the existing signs on Lantzville road then the new ones for Superior Road will get the new name as well as Knarston Creek. One small stream that is often overlooked by most is the one that flows from Leland Rd down through Peterson , Sebastian and has its estuary on the beach between Harper and Sebastian Roads, this stream has Sea Run Cutthroat running up when they can make it into the estuary which at the present time is blocked by a huge amount of small woody debris from the big storm last winter. As soon as I can organise it and maybe by the time you read this I will have cleaned it out. We yet have to decide what name to give this one, at present it holds two names Slogar Brook at the headwaters and Stewart Creek at the estuary. On the RDN maps it is Slogar Brook so we will use that along with a appropriate Salish name .
Another benefit of the signs is that it will inform you as to what watershed you reside in and what fish return to those streams also it will make you think where all your run off goes from your yards as it makes its way via ditches towards the streams and eventually the Salish Sea.