North Shore Streamkeepers are looking for volunteers to train in an upcoming spawner survey for Hastings Creek, a stock-taking exercise where adult salmon are counted as they return to their home stream to spawn.
These fish must survive various fisheries, as well as environmental hazards, to return to their spawning grounds. Their abundance or lack can shed a light on future generations of fish.
Volunteers will meet at the entrance of Hunter Park, at Chaucer and Fromme near Argyle school, on Wednesday, September 18, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. This training is aimed at finding and identifying Coho salmon.
ZoAnn Morten, who administers the training, says the streamerkeepers have extensive data going back several years on the salmon spawn.“The average person doesn’t know the protocols and we train to look for the air and water conditions, how high the stream is, the weather conditions, the water turbidity, and how well we can see the habitats. Coho salmon are notorious for hiding,” Morten says.
Volunteers will be trained to define survey areas, determine bank depth and then fill in the survey sheet with relevant data on the spawn. The North Shore Streamkeepers also collect information on different species of returning salmon at Mackay Creek, Mosquito Creek, Hastings Creek, McCartney Creek, Maplewood Creek and the Seymour River.
The data over the years can yield critical information on the state of the salmon runs as researchers are able to compare run sizes.The surveys also help answer other questions: Are the fish in good health? Are their growths or lesions on them. Are they being preyed upon in the streams? Have local enhancement efforts reached their goals as to numbers of returning salmon? Which type of salmon are returning to our streams? How do weather and stream conditions affect the movement and numbers of salmon? Are there blockages to fish passage?
The streamkeepers have used the information before to find a hole in the Coho run a few years ago. Once they realised there was a missed Coho cycle, they worked with DFO to replenish the Coho.
This work, however, wouldn’t be possible without well-trained volunteers, who can make a big difference in maintaining the ecological health of the community.
“As more volunteers come out, we can then send them with a trained person to work on additional locations. It would be great to get more streams on the North Shore surveyed as to returning salmon numbers,” says Morten.
Contact ZoAnn Morten at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to volunteer.