Map showing the 2013 Salish Sucker survey area
There are less than 750 Salish Suckers in the Salmon River, not including juveniles in their first summer, according to a trap and release program in the fall of 2013. It’s a low number, but better than many Salish Sucker populations in Canada. Salish suckers are an endangered species. The main threat, as in many watersheds, appears to be poor water quality, especially low oxygen levels in summer. Low summer flows and excessive agricultural nutrients are likely the root causes.
Most of the Salish Suckers found in 2013 were located in Tyre Creek, a tributary that starts on the Department of National Defense lands and enters the Salmon River close to 256 St.
Traps were set in the upper Salmon River at 133 locations between Aug. 27 and Oct. 29. Traps were set a second time at 92 of these locations between Sept. 9 and Nov. 14. A total of 334 Salish Suckers were captured in the first sampling session, 253 during the second trapping session, of which 112 had been marked in the first session. Thus, 475 individual Salish Suckers were encountered. Population estimates for each reach yield an estimate of 726 individuals in the watershed.
There does not appear to be a viable population on the floodplain in Fort Langley. The couple of individuals caught over the years are vagrants from the main population shown by the dark blue line on the map.
These photos, taken on July 11, 2014 where the Salmon River crosses 56th Ave. and heading a little east, were provided by SRES society member Fred Trzaskowski.
“Interesting watching the crayfish stalking the young rainbow trout smolts and seeing the deer tracks and the coyote print. The river is full of the small smolts swimming into the current and some even catch things on top as they float by. I could not see what they were catching, but they saw food,” he wrote.
A team of biology students and staff at Trinity Western University went out on two consecutive nights in June to capture and remove invasive fish in McMillan Lake on the campus. Final numbers aren’t in, but thousands of fish were caught.
Last year, a 20-lb carp was the biggest catch. A total of 579 fish were caught over the 2 nights. All but 10 were non-native!
McMillan Lake connects with the Salmon River during periods of high water and some invasive fish, like the large-mouth bass, feed on juvenile coho. “We are trying to restore and renew the lake to a state where it could provide habitat for over-wintering juvenile Coho salmon,” said David Clements, Ph.D., professor of Biology and Environmental Studies.
Larry Pynn, reporter for the Vancouver Sun, and biologist Mike Pearson paddled Bertrand Creek which travels through Langley and Washington to examine the impact of agriculture on fish habitat. “It’s hard for me to go out for a day and not see something outrageous,” said Pearson.
Minding the farm: Farm practices are clashing with the protection of fish habitats
(Van. Sun, June 7, 2014)
Fish & Farm: The problem with manure
(Van. Sun, June 9, 2014)
And here’s what’s happening upstream on the Salmon River:
Trenching of Salmon River through farmland exposes it to degradation
(Van. Sun, June 7, 2014)
The series continues…
Blame game in the mystery of the fish kill
(Van. Sun, June 10, 2014)
Paying farmers to maintain streamside vegetation
(Van. Sun, June 11, 2014)
Professor Whattanutt tries to follow the rules for having fun and staying safe
There’s no better way to understand an ecosystem than to stand in the middle of it. Grade 2 and 3 students at North Otter Elementary School in Langley had that opportunity in April when they took part in the Salmon in the Valley program offered by the biology department at Trinity Western University. The program engages between 500 and 600 students every year.
Arbour Day 2014 was celebrated with a welcoming from the Kwantlen band, tree climbing, tree planting, Kwantlen drumming, and jazz from Langley Fine Arts jazz band. Doug McFee, president of the Salmon River Enhancement Society, talked to residents about local issues and their impact on the Salmon River and environment.
Salmon River stewards (members of SRES and local residents) are raising the alarm about the planned water pipe on 52nd Ave. between 242nd and 248th streets.
Clear cutting of mature trees on an 18-metre deep ravine will result in long-term runoff damage and silt build up in the Salmon River. The banks are largely sand and gravel with a natural grade of 45 degrees. The society has written to Township council pointing out that there are better options for delivering water to Aldergrove. (read more)