Watershed Society counting the salmon

The Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society (BCWS) recently completed the 2011 count of coho salmon leaving Brooklyn Creek.

A VOLUNTEER with the Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society counts salmon in the creek.

A VOLUNTEER with the Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society counts salmon in the creek.

The Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society (BCWS) recently completed the 2011 count of coho salmon leaving Brooklyn Creek.

Each spring, young coho salmon that have spent the past year rearing in the creek get ready to leave to continue their life cycle by migrating to saltwater where they will spend the remainder of their life before eventually returning to the creek as adults to spawn.

The annual migration of coho smolts, usually begins in April and continues until mid June. In order to gain insight as to how many coho salmon are spawning and then rearing in the creek the BCWS has been installing and operating a counting fence for the past two years.

With the assistance of a dedicated group of 20 volunteers, a fence and trap box were set up near the mouth of the creek in mid April. The volunteers participated in the daily trap check and count of this year’s coho smolts exiting the creek plus tracking the number of coho fry, resident cutthroat trout, sticklebacks and sculpins moving downstream.

From April 18 to June 9, when the fence was removed, the volunteers counted 1,510 coho smolts making their journey from the creek to the ocean. In addition to the coho smolts, the volunteers counted 87 resident cutthroat trout and 125 coho fry that will spend the next year in the creek. Also encountered were sculpins, stickleback and crayfish.

In 2010, the first year the count was conducted, BCWS volunteers counted approximately 3,680 coho smolts including a one-day count of over 1,700 fish.

The presence of wild coho salmon emphasizes the importance of Brooklyn Creek as not only a salmon bearing stream but also for its value as habitat for native plants, wildlife and fish. This is in addition to the walking trails that are used extensively by the public.

The BCWS is a community organization of volunteers that develops and implements projects in co-operation with other partners to facilitate the restoration and well-being of the creek and the surrounding watershed that drains into the creek.

The information collected from this project will provide a reference on the health of Brooklyn Creek as a salmon-bearing creek and to determine if past restoration activities are having a positive impact on salmon productivity.

The BCWS has ongoing projects planned for the summer and fall of 2011 and it always welcomes and encourages those interested in learning more about the creek and the work done by the BCWS to contact Ken Derksen at 250-339-9567 or kenderksen@shaw.ca.

— Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society

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