The Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society (BCWS) is set to begin a month of major enhancement work along the lower section of Brooklyn Creek, thanks to the donations of several community business partners.
The $60,000 project, which includes creating spawning and rearing habitat for salmon and improving the adjacent walking trail, is funded largely through contributions from the Town of Comox and the Pacific Salmon Foundation. The remainder is made up from community donations.
“Brooklyn Creek is a vital ecosystem and a real hidden gem, and it’s up to all of us to help protect it,” says Richard Kerton, manager of Comox District Co-op, which donated to the project. “A lot of people don’t realize that there are wild coho and chum salmon that spawn in the creek, and this work will help ensure they’re able to return year after year.”
Later this month, volunteers will begin trapping fish to temporarily move them away from the site. Work crews will move in the first week of August, with completion expected before September.
“We’ve got a two-month fisheries window that we can actually work in,” says BCWS president Ken Derksen. “We can get in there in July when the water’s low, and we have to be out by mid-September before the fish start to come back.”
The Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society, founded in 2007, consists of an eight-member board and a core of about 30 volunteers. Though its mandate includes watershed stewardship, habitat protection, fish stock assessments and educational programs, its main priority this year has been the enhancement project.
“Any funds we get have gone into this larger project work,” says Derksen. “We do a lot of work that just requires hours, not funding, but there are still material costs, like boardwalks and bringing in machinery.
“We’re obviously trying to encourage more businesses to get involved,” he continues. “Supporting Brooklyn Creek shows you’re committed to community involvement and to protecting a healthy environment, and that you support volunteers who are trying to make a difference.”
Although BCWS is just one of many community groups that the Co-op supports each year, says Kerton, he’s proud that the Co-op is able to lend a hand.
“Our motto is ‘moving ahead by giving back,’” he says. “Most people think that just applies to the cash allocation that Co-op members get each year, but it also applies to the community as a whole. We’re owned by the community, we’re part of the community and we’re proud to support community initiatives.”
“We have a great little creek here in the middle of Comox, and it’s worth protecting,” says Derksen. “Every little bit helps.”
To learn more about the Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society, visit www.bcws.ca or call Ken Derksen at 250-339-9567.
— Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society