Stream Keepers

Luckily we had so much rain during September and early October that flows may stay steady until the rains return. Due to the fog we feel it has been wet but this last few weeks has been very dry. With the flows seemingly stable we all ready have seen several Wild Chum returning to Bonnel Creek and Nanoose creek.

With what seem like lots of Wild Coho jumping along the foreshore the past weeks we are anticipating that we will get good returns on all the streams.

October brings opportunities to plant more trees around the watersheds where we think they may do good like one of the large gravel bars on Bonnel, for years we have planted Willow and Cedar trees only to see a few survive as the stream floods either bringing more gravel or eroding more away. Already over the years the channel has changed from the main flow a few years ago to a whole new channel since we lost the big log jam above. The bonus for the fish is that the new log jam below is awesome to say the least with lots of cover and food to sustain them through the summer months well protected from predation by the jam.

Last month we planted around 60 trees within the estuary, each year we plant more, and the Deer chew them along with the Beaver. It may seem pointless but when you walk down by the streams you slowly begin to see a nice Cedar tree poking up out of the underbrush or a beautiful Sitka Spruce rising above the expanse of Nootka Rose.

One such tree is Errol’s tree, a long time volunteer Errol wandered off one planting day many years ago just to see if the Spruce plugs we had would take lower down towards the beach. Well all these years later it now stands tall among the rose bushes. Following his lead we have planted more in similar ecosystems throughout the estuary and now wait for the day we notice them and have bragging rights to new volunteers.

Recently some may have noticed the hand made sign along Lantzville rd about  – Transition, The power of just doing stuff, You may think what does this have to do with Salmon? Well where do I begin at the beginning I guess, many years ago when I was commercially fishing to support my growing family I decided to give back and joined my friends from Snaw Naw As in their fisheries program. This led to forming the Stream Keepers later on, the first thing I noticed working with Snaw Naw As fisheries was how they were being led along by advisors from DFO. It was not long before I realised that most of what they were advising was following the industrial model of Fish factories by talking them into the installing a fish factory [hatchery also read monies available for hiring these self same advisors] under the illusion that this was the only way to go in saving and increasing the depleted runs of Salmon returning to local streams. As usual I soon realised that fish factories were the main problem as the whole idea was based on the industrial model which had been applied to everything man touched and more often than not was the main reason we had so many problems. Our kids eating nothing but processed food when at one time we had such abundance here on the coast I could not believe it had been allowed to slip away all in the name of so called jobs as we decimated the once mighty forest that once covered the whole coast providing the most important component of the Salmons life cycle, HABITAT.

It was not long before I realised if we continued along this model soon we would be in a state of crisis which we do find ourselves in today with our Salmon.

The entire habitat gone replaced by more and more fish factories being placed on smaller and smaller streams all in a vain attempt to engage the public in Salmon. I knew deep down this was wrong after all Salmon had been doing their thing for thousands if not millions of years without modern mans intervention and as usual once man starts to manage nature things begin to fail. Okay enough of the rant and back to transition, I realised the only way to help the Salmon was to just do what felt right for the fish which surprising enough was -wait for it HABITAT yes the power of just doing stuff. When I was able to influence decisions around our local streams one of the first things was as little as possible interaction with the so-called powers that be and there so called advisors.

If I had not we would have had fish factories on every stream and then that would have been the end of our wild Salmon forever. When we decided to do habitat work we went ahead without the involvement of any so called experts and followed the teachings told to me by the elders of both Snaw Naw As and my adopted family from the Kwakwakwakalla nation on northern Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland. From these elders I learned the true meaning of stewardship and all it entailed. For the past 15 years Stream Keepers have just been doing stuff instead of awaiting permission from a failed system. Today we have the runs of both wild Coho and wild Chum returning in sufficient numbers to continue the genetic lines the fish have developed over the millennia to survive. So as you can see just doing stuff that benefits us all and above all else nature then how can you go wrong. So reclaim that vacant boulevard out front and plant some food producing shrubs and even dare I say it a veggie garden after all we collectively own all the district land in Lantzville so it is yours to do as you see fit as long as it benefits the community as a whole you can feel pride you are helping head us in a more caring and inclusive community.

Oh yes I can hear it now the uproar this could cause with the so called powers that be but remember this, those self same detractors are the self same ones who still support a failed system.

Be proud of you neighbourhood and the greater community at large and do all you can to help it flourish and you will find that as nature improves so does your own quality of life. Be proud to be a Lantz villager.

PS On the Salmon my tip this month is for you to spend 20 minutes or so and watch a short talk given by a man called Jim Lichatowich [ Google ] a prominent biologist from Oregon talking about our Salmon and where we collectively find ourselves today after 100 years plus of the failed fish factory hatchery program. Oh yes I have already been told that “He is from the US and therefore it does not apply to BC” as if the facts and the science does not apply because of a imaginary border, Salmon roam all over the Pacific and yes we do have the same problems as the US it is just that we still have some intact watersheds and wild Salmon left on our coast but for how long?

Empower yourself then you can make good informed decision about life.

Oh another thing. Go out and plant a tree, alongside a stream or even just on the boulevard as long as it is not under any power lines and if so plant a shrub, take ownership and the village will flourish. Semi dwarf Apple trees feed people, berry bushes too. Would it not be nice to go for your walk and be able to pluck a Apple from a roadside tree, maybe the kids on the way to school instead of that candy bar or pop. Remember that one glass of orange juice contains up to 9 teaspoons of sugar unless you squeeze fresh.

Posted in November 2013, Streamkeepers
2 comments on “Stream Keepers
  1. John Dunn says:

    Wild Coho are as you read this spawning within Bloods and Knarston Creeks, go for a walk and see how many you can see, black with red sides truning red unless real fresh then nice and silver. Take the kids.

  2. John Dunn says:

    More Wild Coho over the past week in all streams. The Wild Chum were not as plentiful as in the past years on some streams. This may have something to do with the gill-net opening that took place off Nanaimo a week ago to so call clean up surplus Chum to Nanaimo River. In the days of abundance all those fish spawned which in turn created such abundance, go figure.

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