Millard/Piercy Watershed Stewards volunteers are seen checking for salmon presence in Piercy Creek at Comox Logging Road. Photo supplied

Piercy Creek habitat assessment project launched

For more than 20 years, Millard/Piercy Watershed Stewards have worked to enhance the salmonid populations of Millard/Piercy watershed. This work has included improvements to spawning and rearing areas, planting of streamside vegetation, removal of barriers to fish migration, operation of a small hatchery, water quality sampling and engagement of property owners within the watershed.

Piercy Creek, the largest tributary of Millard Creek, is subject to low flows during the dry summer months and sudden high flows following rainstorms in fall and winter. During summer, the upper reaches often dry to a series of unconnected pools causing stress and mortality to trapped fish while winter storms wash out juvenile salmon and destroy eggs in the gravel.

To help improve coho productivity, in recent years, the Millard-Piercy Watershed Stewards have installed two spawning and rearing channels in the lower Piercy Creek system and planted native vegetation adjacent to streams. However, there is more to do.

This June, Millard-Piercy Watershed Stewards initiated a project to assess fish habitat in the mainstem and tributaries of Piercy Creek upstream of the Highway 19 connector. Volunteers, under the direction of Current Environmental Ltd., have begun collecting data on streambed composition, riparian (streamside) vegetation and water quality. Fish surveying will determine the seasonal distribution of coho salmon and cutthroat trout. Flow monitoring will also take place. An important component of the project is to engage with people living within the Piercy Creek watershed to encourage their participation in building and maintaining a healthy watershed.

Field work will extend over several months then Current Environmental Ltd. will analyze the data and prepare a report early in 2021. The purpose of the project is to identify options for future enhancement activities, especially for coho, and to provide a basis to help guide future development within the watershed in an environmentally sustainable way.

Thanks to the financial support of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, City of Courtenay, Comox Valley Regional District, Department of Fisheries and Oceans and McElhanney Ltd. and the expertise of Current Environmental Ltd. employees, the Piercy Creek Habitat Assessment Project has been able to proceed.

To learn more about MPWS or to become a volunteer, visit www.millardpiercy.org

Comox Valley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cumberland sets out future meeting video policy

Only regular council meetings to be livestreamed in the future

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

Comox Valley youth starts virtual race against racism

Cailyn Collins says people can take part in the cause from anywhere

Comox Valley Regional District asks residents about curbside pickup

Online survey about waste pickup for most rural residents runs until Sept. 11

Independent home learning hub to open for kids in the Comox Valley

Community’s Waldorf team put Daily Wonder together to help students, families

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

Most Read