Stream Keepers

October is just around the corner after our very long summer of hot and dry weather leaving most streams dry for several weeks.During this time we have spend our days anchoring logs alongside streams and clearing small debris from a big logjam.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Under normal circumstance log jams present no problem but when they restrict the passage of returning Salmon we will pull out enough debris to allow for the fish to swim through without being stuck on the downstream side unable to venture further upstream to spawn. The fish passage has only to last until the fish have moved upstream then if over the winter it plugs again it will be up to nature to deal with it. Previous advice from DFO tech advisor has been to bring a machine into the streambed and remove the whole jam; this may sound easy to do but requires the removal of trees and shrubs to gain access not to mention the compaction caused by the machine transiting the substrate. This was considered bad advice so we have never followed it and only do what we can by hand with chain saw and winches. Over the coming weeks as flows return Wild Coho Salmon will begin to venture into Bloods and Knarston these being the two main spawning streams in Lantzville. Stream keepers this year will be walking all streams in a adult spawner survey for DFO, this will entail bank walks as these are the least intrusive and does not place undue stress on the fish by wading disturbing redd’s fish nests] etc. Resident volunteers will take a count at least once a week between the beach and Dickinson Rd on Bloods Creek and between the beach and the falls on Knarston Creek. All the information collected will be posted on DFO’s web site on a weekly basis. Walks will also occur on Bonnel, Nanoose and Craig creeks during the spawning time.

 This will give a more permanent record of returning adults for the future years as we see how stocks are improving from all the hard work the volunteers have done over the past 15 plus years.

We also plan to complement this work with possible out migration counts next spring to quantify the amount of fry leaving the system giving us a idea of the health and survivability of the habitat within our streams. Next year we begin to survey all streams from the Salish Sea to the headwaters conducting training in survey methodology to our volunteers in order that we may have up to date data on all habitat contained within these systems. A big thanks to PSF for granting our funding request to purchase equipment to conduct the surveys.  As we consider all streams that we steward as containing Wild Salmon we feel we need to quantify the habitat parameters bringing the data up to date. Another reason is when we have tried to access previous information on the streams we tend to fail due to either data being lost or in some ones filling cabinet collecting cobwebs. This will give the stream keepers there own data bank enabling future volunteers easy access to the data instead of wondering what happened to the data once passed on.  I would encourage all to walk down to your local stream this fall and view the returning Salmon, take pictures and tell your neighbours what fun it was.  Doing this will bring Wild Salmon as close as your local stream instead of just reading about some stream you never have been to let alone know that Salmon actually spawn there. Also remember these are as true a Wild Salmon as you will get on the east coast of the Island due mainly to past practices of dumping hatchery fish into any wet spot before DFO told everyone that to protect genetic diversity was more important than some desire to increase production at any expense to the true Wild Salmon that at one time where abundant before all the interferences in past years. When I mention DFO I usually have little to say but last week I had a meeting with a fellow at south coast management office in Nanaimo about Wild salmon and our desire to allow them to remain Wild salmon without some one coming along with a plan to put hatchery fish into the streams in a vain attempt to increase numbers at the expense of the overall health and genetic diversity we still have. This was the most positive meeting I have had since I quit going to meetings out of frustration over everyone pursueing the mighty dollar for there pet projects at the expense of the fish. Remember we all live in the watersheds and yes that does include all flora and fauna.

The great Canadian shoreline clean up will be conducted from Icarus Point down through Nanoose Bay estuary. Volunteers will be needed to walk sections of the beach. Notices of the event will be posted around the village and on the log. So if you would like to assist in this event please await notification through social media and posters and bring along your kids and neighbours and see how much garbage we can collect.

Posted in Fishing Articles, October 2014, Streamkeepers

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