Mea culpa, life got ahead of me and I didn’t get around to finishing the tale of the Creek renovations. We did put some native plants in the damaged area and I am pleased to report that most of them seem to be doing ok.
Mrs Deer and the kids didn’t appreciate the ‘skylight’ we provided on her island habitat and departed for the winter, for which my tulips and I thank her. I imagine they will be back once the ‘skylight’ grows over again which is still a ways away.
While she may not have appreciated the work we did the salmon certainly seemed to. The pinks arrive first, of course, and many came before the rains really started so they had an opportunity to utilize the newly created habitat before it got so wet that everything was fish habitat. Our thanks go out once again to Jim and his helpers as their excellent work meant that we only had one escapee despite the high waters we experienced this winter that we had to rescue from the centre of the creek and reattach to the closest complex of large woody debris. I am sure that the homeowners are also extremely pleased that the ‘sticks and stones’ stayed put and protected their properties from further erosion.
For those who follow our activities regularly you may have noticed that we didn’t put up the smolt fence this year. We decided that since the pink run was exceptional and the pink fry are incredibly delicate that we should give them the best possible opportunity to survive and not put up the smolt fence this year. That decision became important for all the species as the rains were incredibly bad and I noticed several areas where the eggs were washed way up on shore so there was undoubtedly a lot of damage to the fish stocks in the creek. For those that aren’t aware of the potential for disaster, salmon lay their eggs in the gravel after ‘blowing’ all the silt away and it is then essential for the eggs to remain silt free otherwise they ‘suffocate’ so heavy waters with high silt loads can do a lot of damage as can walking in the creek and stirring up the sediment. The next problem area is that the eggs need to remain in one orientation as they grow so high water and strong currents can kill the developing fry by turning them over. Then in the spring the alevins hatch and they are very small and very delicate so again they need to be protected from strong currents they are not strong enough to fight and sediment, etc that can bury/suffocate them. Then they grow up and leave home, etc but all-in-all, of 2500 eggs laid only one pair of adults return to spawn. I guess what I’m trying to say is life sucks if you’re a salmon! The fence did not go to waste however as we loaned it to the Brooklyn Streamkeepers so they could check how their creek is doing.
Our grateful thanks go out to the Pacific Salmon Foundation for contributing 50% of the money towards this project and to the Living Rivers, BC Conservation Foundation for the other 50% as without them we would have been unable to undertake this task.