BC Streamkeepers start salmon study

Stoney Creek Environment Committee braves elements to begin field study

Burnaby, BC (RushPRNews)12/22/08- This week, members of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee braved the wintry weather and began fieldwork to study the effects of water quality on Chum salmon eggs. With support from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who supplied the eggs, the group put two sets of eggs in different tributaries of Stoney Creek. The eggs will incubate in the stream over the winter and hatch in the spring.

Stoney Creek is one of several streams that have their headwaters on Burnaby Mountain, home to Simon Fraser University. The streams flow south through the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, join the Brunette River, and empty into the Fraser or flow north to Burrard Inlet.

“The study will tell us how well the eggs can withstand the changing water quality conditions in the stream and will guide our efforts to sustain the watershed,” commented Jennifer Atchison, co-chair of the group. “What a wonderful adventure it all was.  It will be etched into my memory forever,” she added.

Volunteer streamkeeper and fish biologist, Vladimir Soukhatchev, designed the study in consultation with Maurice Coulter-Boisvert, DFO Community Advisor. “This fieldwork will provide further data in our quest to determine the effect of poor water quality on the viability of eggs and their development,” Soukhatchev said. The group is also participating in a 3-year long laboratory study at UBC supported by the Pacific Salmon Foundation, entitled De-icer Impacts to Salmonids and their Habitat.

The Stoney Creek Environment Committee was formed in 1995 to restore salmon stocks to their urban stream, which had been barren of salmon for 50 years due to commercial and residential development pressures. The salmon returned to spawn in the upper reaches of Stoney Creek in 2004, after much collaborative work with the City of Burnaby, Metro Vancouver, DFO, local schools, and other community and corporate supporters. The Stoney Creek Environment Committee holds the Great Salmon Send-Off annually to release young Coho into the stream. Many of these released fish return to spawn in the fall after spending a year or two in the ocean. This year’s Great Salmon Send-Off will be held May 9, 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Stoney Creek Community School.

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Other photos of the operation are available at http://www.pbase.com/alan_at_handshake/stoney.

Alan James, Secretary

Jennifer Atchison, co-Chair

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