For the second year in a row, chum salmon are returning to Still Creek in the Lower Mainland to spawn.
This is something that, other than last year, had not been seen for decades.
Dams and blocked waterways have become the biggest challenges for our salmon, including the health of the local streams. It has taken a lot of time to get some of those streams back to health.
“The wonderful thing about seeing all these salmon come back into Burnaby and Vancouver is we’re seeing them recolonize waters where they haven’t been for many many decades,” says Mark Angelo, World Rivers Day chair.
The Cariboo Dam was built in 1913, essentially cutting off these waterways.
Two years ago a fishway was installed, allowing the salon to get to the ares that were previously cut off to them. Buckingham Creek off Deer Lake is another example of a location the salmon have returned to.
The salmon still face many obstacles however. In Still Creek there are many paved culverts and dark passageways that the salmon cannot navigate.
“We’re getting some salmon back into the system now, which is wonderful,” says Angelo. “But if a lot of these obstacles are resolved and dealt with, then certainly we’ll be able to sustain many more fish in future, which I think is wonderful.”
Salmon spawning in Still Creek:
– With files from Linda Aylesworth