Newsletter #43 – October – December 2019
1) Next Membership Meeting: The next meeting of the members will take place on Thursday, January 30, 2020 at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church starting at 7:30 p.m. The guest speaker will be one of our members, Sally McDermott, who will provide insight into the bald eagle population on the North Shore and the volunteer monitoring that she coordinates.
2) New Director Appointment: The Board of Directors has appointed Annie Faw to replace retiring Director Bill Chapman. Annie is an educator by training and has been coordinating the Invasive Plant surveys and mapping this year.
3) Awards: Congratulations to Liz Leduc who received an Environment Award from the District of West Vancouver for her contribution to Streamkeepers. Liz coordinates community events, membership and the Brothers Creek viewing platform. The presentation, along with other community volunteer awards, took place at Kay Meek theatre on November 28. Well done Liz.
4) Herring Spawn Enhancement: The spawning nets will be installed at Eagle Harbour Yacht Club this winter. Led by Jan and Keith Moger and Leslie Shuparski, this is probably the last effort to ascertain whether herring are spawning in various West Vancouver marine locations. In the last three years, seven sites have had nets installed, with no evidence of herring eggs. In addition, a new initiative is underway seeking permission from DFO to transfer eggs from False Creek net locations to West Vancouver in hopes of establishing a spawning population of herring. Doug Swanston, an environmental consultant, is preparing the application as a joint effort between our Society, Bowen Island Fish and Wildlife Club and Squamish Streamkeepers.
5) Chum Salmon Egg-Take: Insufficient numbers of returning chum salmon to the Alouette River Hatchery precluded the participation by our volunteers in assisting at the egg take this year. Although the returns were low, on December 17 our Nelson Creek Hatchery took delivery of 34,500 chum salmon eggs from the Alouette Hatchery, which is considerably lower than the 100,000 eggs we normally receive. We will be receiving our annual delivery of coho eggs from the Capilano River Hatchery in late January or early February.
6) Memorial Park Rearing Pond: On November 3, fifteen members gathered at Memorial Park to prune much of the excess growth around the rearing pond and to remove water lily plants that have started to dominate the pond. New large woody debris will soon be added to provide additional cover and protection for these fish. The rearing pond is working effectively in providing habitat for a healthy population of juvenile coho and cutthroat trout.
7) Work Plan 2019: The completed projects for 2019 can be viewed on the website located on the Home Page at www.westvancouverstreamkeepers.ca. It was a productive year with five significant projects completed thanks the leadership of Don Harrison who coordinates this work.
8) Work Plan 2020: A list of projects for 2020 is presently being prepared and will be featured at the Members Meeting in January. Some of the highlights include: Nelson Creek (improvement to the access from the ocean into the creek at Fisherman’s Cove), Wood Creek (District plans to improve areas of the park and upgrade fish habitat throughout the park), Larson Creek (monitor flow through the rearing pond following the cleaning of the pond last fall) as well as several other stream enhancement projects.
9) Spawner Salmon Surveys: Fourteen of our twenty-two creeks and tributaries were monitored by thirty-one Creek Monitors for returning adult salmon. Surveys were conducted weekly from early October until mid-December. As with much of the southern coast of BC this year, returns of chum salmon were the lowest since 1995. Coho returns were also below normal. Those salmon that did return were hampered by low water conditions in the normally peak arrival time, coupled with predation by river otters which took a toll on the vulnerable adult salmon. Anthea Cameron coordinated the Creek Monitors and collected the data submitted. A report will be prepared summarizing the results for this fall and posted on the website.
10) Spawner Salmon Surveys – Secondary School Students: Students from five secondary schools, as well as the Environmental Science Academy, formed 16 teams to monitor returning salmon. Each team, led by a Streamkeeper Sponsor, conducted surveys on numerous zones on Brothers and Hadden Creeks for a seven-week period. This year, 84 students participated in the program now completing its thirteenth year. At a Wrap-Up Celebration, attended by a number of prominent community leaders, the program participants received tee-shirts and were treated to a pizza feast. We would like to recognize and thank British Pacific Properties and Park Royal Shopping Centre for their continued support of this program.
11) Fish Kill – Larson Creek: We continue to stay in regular contact with the representative of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the federal agency responsible for the investigation of the April 30, 2018 fish kill in Larson Creek. This is still at the investigation stage and in time, we will be informed if charges, most likely under the Fisheries Act, will be recommended.
12) Nature Centre: The results from the public survey will be summarized in a report to Council by the Parks Department with recommendations on whether to proceed with the creation of a Nature Centre near John Lawson Park. This report is expected early in the new year.
13) Membership: The total membership to date for 2019 was 280, once again, an increase over prior years. Difficulties with the electronic version have led to a delay in offering this option to join and in the interim we would ask members to renew by printing and submitting the application form found on the website under Join Us (www.westvancouverstreamkeepers.ca).
14) Leadership Change: Effective January 1, 2020 there will be a change in the leadership of our Society. Mike Perley and Keith Pelletier will share the leadership duties as Co-Chairs. As President of the Society for ten terms, it is a favourable time for me to step aside. My commitment will be to continue to offer to serve as a board member, to work with the new leadership and provide continued support to the organization. And, having been asked about the student program conducting spawner salmon surveys, yes, I will continue to lead this initiative.
John Barker, President firstname.lastname@example.org 604-922-5780