Action items—Oct. 27, 2014

1)  Community Participation, Infrastructure and Environment Committee.  Will watch to see what sort of proposal comes forward from TOL staff re format for developers’ open houses etc.

2)  FOI information re Fort Langley floodplain.  West Coast Environmental Law will be contacted to see what the next stages are in protecting the floodplain particularly since DFO seems to be abrogating its responsibility to enforce the pumping agreements made with TOL in 1995 (i.e. pumping is now occurring out of season).

3)  LEPS in stream work.  We will try to ensure that we are given advance notice of projects over the next 2 years so that SRES members can participate in work.  LEPS is doing invasive weed removal and rehab of riparian zones at a number of sites along the river.

4)  East Langley Pipes. We reviewed the disastrous mistakes made by TOL resulting in widespread destruction of the banks of the river at 52nd and 244th.  We will follow up with TOL and DFO and make enquiries to find a slope stability expert to help Phil Henderson put together a rehab plan for the site.  TOL is apparently willing to pay for the consultants and for rehab.

5)  Transfer of books to the new bookkeeper is in process.  We have two signing officers (moved and passed by the membership).

6)  Kinder Morgan pipeline.  Still waiting to hear if we will receive funding for a presentation to the NEB.

7)  Wall, Rural Plan etc.  no new action at this time

8)  Artesian wells. Please see the E-mail of this week and contact the person responsible to report artesian wells.  SRES would like to know if these complaints are dealt with by the province or not.

9)  We will contact TOL re. the letter on disposal of TOL properties with a request that we be notified of next steps by November 5.  If there is no reply the next step would be to go to the press and the candidates for TOL council.

Water pipe construction harming the Salmon River

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The Salmon River Enhancement Society has significant concerns about the East Langley pipeline project carrying water to Aldergrove. There could be a significant impact on the health of the Salmon River and the wildlife that relies upon it. Citizens in the area report that:

  • small tributaries have been covered over and lost
  • a much wider swath of trees and vegetation has been removed which could lead to landslides
  • wet and course material removed during construction is being dumped in the riparian zone

Water pipe causes environmental damage

Environmental damage has resulted from construction of east Langley pipeline
(Oct. 28, 2014, Letter to the Langley Times)

Minutes—Sept. 16, 2014

1)     Development and Environment Task Force.   We will look into what this group is doing and what the results were of the survey last spring.

2)    River’s Day. Most things are organized. May need more brochures from the new stock. We will see about getting the salmon roulette wheel to the event (it is at TWU after being used for Salmon in the Valley). Will need strong arms to help move the BBQ around plus people to man the food and the display. The fish tank and display board will be there we will arrange with LEPS to trap some small fry for the tank. A GC will be given to helper from Bonetti’s meats. The free food aspect will be announced via church groups.

3)    FOI request . We will continue on the request for the Fort Langley floodplain with the view to involving WCEL when the information flow has been completed.

4)    52nd Ave. pipeline. Neighbours to publicize the issues with bank stability in the ravine at the east end of 52nd (and about 244th) after excessive tree clearing (much more than what we were led to believe) and TOL’s refusal to use directional drilling from the top of the bank to avoid the carnage in the ravine.  A red-coded stream on the bank has been badly treated by the contractors with complaints in the process to DFO etc.  Complaint to the professional body about the arborist used by TOL is another avenue that should be explored.  A meeting of local people along the pipeline met with little interest. We have documented with pictures and videos the condition of the SR river banks before construction and ToL’s incursion in the estuary of the Salmon River. It was also suggested that SRES contact Phil Henderson to see if he could give us an assessment of the remedial work needed to stabilize the bank.  SRES has money available to pay for this sort of report.  LEPS will be responsible for the seeding the river bank.

5)    The turnover of the books from Win Bromley to the new book keeper will be undertaken.  Book keeper charges $25 per hour and has indicated that work should not require very many hours per year.  This would include the charity report every year.

6)    Wall fiasco.  There is still an avenue to stop this by various SRES members contacting the ALC (Tony Pellet, or if he isn’t leading us in the right direction his superior Brian Underhill) since final approval has not been given as it is contingent on money being put together to do work in the Fort Langley floodplain.  These funds do not appear to be in place nor does there appear to be anything effective that the money could be spent on so why is the ALC still allowing this project to drag on 2 years after the supposed deadline for completion.

7)    Discussion about a FOI re the Langley Sustainable Agriculture slush fund set up by Fort Langley and the farmers.

8)    The new reporting group for artesian wells has been distributed. Lots of artesian wells in the Hopington area that we could report to see if this new group does more than just talk to well owners but rather requires the wells be capped.

9)   A letter will be drafted about TOL-owned properties and opening up the process so properties (especially those that might be suitable for parks, trails or other environmental values) are identified and public input obtained as opposed to being sold “via the back door” as has often been the case.

10)  The TCT trail may be opened to motorized users by the Liberal government.  Discussion of how much this would degrade the trail for walkers, cyclists, horse access etc.  We will continue to work with other TCT directors to lobby for non-motorized use and talk to Larry Pynn re an article in the Sun about this topic (article was subsequently published).

Less than 750 Salish Suckers found

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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.

Salmon River summer

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.

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Thousands of invasive fish captured

EF1A 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.

Invasive species

Gallery feature

Farming impacts on Langley river

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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)