All posts by SRES

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)

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 have been monitoring the impacts of farming practices on the Salmon River and Bertrand Creek.

“Has there been a net habitat loss? Clearly,” Pearson said. “The land area that the nursery gained has been secured. That’s the game with this kind of thing. Just do what’s necessary to get the sign-off.”

Probe  prompts some farmland owners to improve fish habitat
But, the article points out, there has been a net loss of habitat.
(Van. Sun, Dec. 29, 2014)

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)