Smolts Showing!

Hello from the Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society!

This is the time of year we turn our attention to the normally exciting activity of installing a fish counting device (the smolt fence and trap) for the purpose of capturing, counting and releasing out migrating coho smolts on their way to sea and getting a sense of the numbers to compare against past years.

As many of you know, we usually reach out to you to assist in the daily counting and releasing of the smolts. Due to the pandemic and very low water in the creek, we have decided not to proceed with the count this year.

However, we do have some positive fishy news. After a discouraging autumn and winter with no one reporting seeing any adult salmon in the creek, either swimming, or spawning, nor any confirmed redds (egg nests), there are many coho fry seen in the lowest reaches of the creek, some in the pond behind Gaglardi school, and numerous smolts seen in a number of the pools.

As a reminder, smolts are the salmon that have survived an entire year in the creek, are about 5-10 cms long and are on their way to the ocean this spring. There are much fewer smolts than fry of course, and it is highly encouraging to see these survivors against the odds, and it gives hope that some will make it back as adults.

This is very exciting for us and anyone concerned about the health of this creek and fish. Salmon are mysterious and often go unseen, despite the many people looking for them.

Furthermore, there are numerous salmon fry seen in the lower pools at the mouth of the Port Augusta Creek (about a km away to the west). I have seen coho and pink salmon fry, along with sticklebacks and sculpins in the intertidal waters. Unfortunately, the water in this creek has recently been running cloudy from an unknown source and it’s a sobering reminder that all of us live in a watershed and run off from our properties goes into storm drains that end up in these creeks. One can only hope that these fish are able to survive the inevitable chemicals that end up in so many of our water bodies.

In other news we are investigating doing a baseline study with the help of professional biologists to determine the relative health of the creek which will help direct future restoration efforts.

We would also like to thank the Friends of Mack Laing park who have done a great job removing invasive plants in the area, which contributes to the health of native plants and insect life which benefits the creek as well.

As a reminder the BCWS is a volunteer organization without any authority or power. We rely on the goodwill created by our actions and behaviours to advocate for the health of the creek and surrounding watershed. The BCWS is not an activist group, a dept of the Town of Comox or a division of the DFO. We do work with representatives of all these and other streamkeeper groups.

I hope this message finds you healthy and happy, despite this unfortunate situation we all find ourselves in. We have much to be thankful for, and living here in the Comox Valley is one of them! 

Best regards to all.

James Vasilyev, President, BCWS

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A Beacon of Hope

Town of Comox – A ‘Beacon of Hope’ for Citizen Science in Action & Reconnecting Hydrology and Ecology through the Water Balance Approach
to Land Development.
This was a presentation by Christine Hodgson at the Water Sustainability Conference held in Parksville, B.C. in April 2019.

Comox-Beacon-of-Hope_Sep2019 (32-page PDF)

…from page 3:

British Columbia is at a tipping point. Will local governments bridge the gap
between policy and new standards of practice, reconnect hydrology and
ecology, create greener communities, and adapt to climate change?

The Partnership has identified Comox as a beacon of hope because the
Town’s experience shows what is possible when a local government has a
strong working relationship with the stewardship sector, and leads by
example to implement responsible water balance management.

The Town’s journey comprises three building blocks. Over the past decade,
experience gained and lessons learned through the Lower Brooklyn Creek
channel enhancement project and Northeast Comox land development
planning process have been integrated into the Draft Anderton Corridor
Neighbourhood Concept Plan for Middle Brooklyn Creek.

The Draft Anderton Corridor Concept Plan is precedent-setting because it
demonstrates how application of the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP)
approach helps managers change practices and adopt new strategies
regarding the protection and enhancement of ecological systems in the
stream corridor and riparian zone, and throughout the entire creekshed.

The Town is reconnecting hydrology and ecology by embarking on a
systems approach on all levels. The approach includes amending bylaws,
training staff, educating the development community and homeowners,
creating new procedures, and formalizing roles and responsibilities.

By taking action to reconnect hydrology and ecology, Comox is moving
along a pathway that ultimately leads to a water-resilient future where
flood and drought risks would be reduced, and ecological services would be
sustained.

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