Rain Forecast Hopeful for Salmon Coming Home

Broodstock collection: A coho salmon caught in 2018 for the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society’s salmon enhancement program. (HSWS photo)

Broodstock collection: A coho salmon caught in 2018 for the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society’s salmon enhancement program. (HSWS photo)

The annual event hosted by the City of Coquitlam and the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society takes place this Sunday, Oct. 20 covering an expanded area. The main festival site will be set up behind Pinetree Community Centre between Douglas College David Lam Campus and Pinetree Secondary School, which is just steps away from the Hoy Trail where residents can take a ‘watershed walk’ along Hoy Trail to Hoy Creek Hatchery.

“We’re excited about this year’s new layout,” said the president of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, Robbin Whachell. “The event attracts a lot of people, and it had become quite tight around the hatchery and creek, in particular with the growth of the surrounding trees. Now we have so much more space, and everyone can enjoy the forest walk from Pinetree which provides some close views of Hoy Creek. Once at the hatchery, which is adjacent to the creek, hatchery volunteers will provide educational talks with live salmon and give hatchery tours.”

The big question everyone is already asking is, “Where are the salmon?”

“We’ve been checking the creek daily for signs of return. Steam water levels are low again, and we’re hoping the rain forecast for this week will bring the salmon home. We have heard salmon are in the Coquitlam River, so they are almost here,“ said Whachell.

Hatchery manager, Rodney Lee providing a talk on the salmon life cycle in 2018 in front of the hatchery rearing pond.

Hatchery manager, Rodney Lee providing a talk on the salmon life cycle in 2018 in front of the hatchery rearing pond.

The Society runs a year-round salmon enhancement program focusing on chum and coho stocks and has already prepared for the upcoming broodstock collection.

Even if the salmon do not return in time for the event, it will be an excellent opportunity to explore the watershed and learn from local environmental groups. The hatchery rearing pond has close to 3000 fingerlings, just short from the usual 5000 after the fish kill incident in May. Young wild salmon can also be spotted in the stream in various areas.

“With the environment taking such a strong focus in world news today, one can’t help but worry about the salmon return. Nature is resilient, however, and every year the salmon do arrive. It’s hard to remain patient,” said Whachell. “We have people emailing us asking what day they will arrive, and the best thing to do is keep tabs on our Facebook page. We’ll announce as soon as they show up.”

Visitors are encouraged to start their visit to Salmon Come Home on Sunday at Pinetree Community Centre and enjoy the 'Watershed Walk' to the hatchery. Visitors can use this handy event map to assist with their visit. The event runs rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Salmon viewing

There will also be food trucks, live entertainment, a scavenger hunt, face-painting and more.

Maple Creek Watershed Streamkeepers will be attending again performing a salmon dissection.

Maple Creek Watershed Streamkeepers will be attending again performing a salmon dissection.

Location & Parking

The Hoy Creek Hatchery is located in Hoy Creek Linear Park, west of the City Centre Aquatic Complex, 1210 Pinetree Way (Pinetree and Guildford Way) and the Pinetree Community Centre, located at 1260 Pinetree Way, just north of Douglas College.

Free parking is available at Coquitlam City Hall, Pinetree Community Centre and Douglas College. Both Pinetree Community Centre and the Hoy Creek Hatchery are also a 7-minute walk from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain Station.

Visitors can use this handy event map to assist with their visit.

More information is available at www.coquitlam.ca/salmoncomehome and  www.hoyscottcreeks.org.  

Thank you to Vancity, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, and the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program.

RSVP TO THE FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

Angela Brown’s nylon zoo red salmon will be spawning at Salmon Come Home on Oct. 20, 2019. Come inside, hear a story and dress up in costumes provided for a parade in the watershed.

Angela Brown’s nylon zoo red salmon will be spawning at Salmon Come Home on Oct. 20, 2019. Come inside, hear a story and dress up in costumes provided for a parade in the watershed.




Expanded Salmon Come Home Event Sunday, Oct. 20

HSWS volunteer, AJ holds up a chum salmon for viewing at Salmon Come Home (Photo: City of Coquitlam)

HSWS volunteer, AJ holds up a chum salmon for viewing at Salmon Come Home (Photo: City of Coquitlam)

COQUITLAM, BC, Oct. 9, 2019 – Coquitlam residents are invited to celebrate the annual fall return of chum and coho salmon to Hoy Creek at the popular Salmon Come Home event held on Sunday, Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Event Details

Co-hosted by the City of Coquitlam and Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, the free family event has an expanded site this year.

  • New this year are expanded interactive exhibits, musical entertainment, children’s crafts, activities, face painting and food vendors.

  • BC Taco, the Jerk Shack, and Spirit Bear Mobile Café will be at Pinetree Community Centre rear parking lot (1260 Pinetree Way) located immediately adjacent to one of the pedestrian entry paths to Hoy Creek Trail.

  • Hoy Creek Hatchery has streamside live salmon viewing, informative talks, expanded hatchery tours, crafts and the always-popular Nylon Zoo kids’ costume parade.

  • Visitors can enjoy a 'Watershed Walk' and a children's scavenger hunt between the hatchery and Pinetree Community Centre rear parking lot along the Hoy Creek Linear Park Trail that will also be populated with informative signs about the Hoy Creek watershed.

Attendees are advised to dress for the weather, as the event runs rain or shine. See photos of last year’s event.

Location & Parking

The Hoy Creek Hatchery is located in Hoy Creek Linear Park, west of the City Centre Aquatic Complex, 1210 Pinetree Way (Pinetree and Guildford Way) and the Pinetree Community Centre, located at 1260 Pinetree Way, just north of Douglas College.

Free parking is available at Coquitlam City Hall, Pinetree Community Centre and Douglas College. Both Pinetree Community Centre and the Hoy Creek Hatchery are also a 7-minute walk from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain Station.

Visitors are encouraged to start their visit at Pinetree Community Centre and enjoy the 'Watershed Walk' to the hatchery. Visitors can use this handy event map to assist with their visit.

More information is available at www.coquitlam.ca/salmoncomehome and  www.hoyscottcreeks.org.  

 

Volunteers Clean-up Scott Creek near Runnel Drive

The haul after 2 hours in an along Scott Creek north of Runnel Drive.

The haul after 2 hours in an along Scott Creek north of Runnel Drive.

Hoy/Scott Watershed Society volunteers were out on August 24 for the annual creek clean. This year the focus was Scott Creek, and within two-hours the group was able to remove a sizeable amount of refuse from the urban stream.

The haul consisted mainly of: trash (cans/wrappers/plastics), a Xmas tree, chairs, car and bicycle tires, bike parts, a book, bottles, needles, clothes, bedding, lots of doggy doo bags and more.

“I’m very proud of our group of volunteers,” said society president Robbin Whachell. “Several of whom are new and experiencing Scott Creek for the first time. Our cleanup exercise, which can be discouraging to see the trash, allows us to experience the stream up close and personal.“

“It’s a beautiful time of year, and a safe time for us to walk within the stream without disturbing fish eggs/nests,” said Whachell.

“Although we found a good amount of trash, there were long stretches that appeared unmarred by humans, which was great to see!”

The Society will begin hosting monthly open houses the first Saturday of each month, starting in September. Come by Sept. 7 for a tour and to ask questions. If you’d like to become a volunteer, this is the perfect opportunity to learn more.

Save the date for Salmon Come Home, a family-friendly event hosted by the Society along with the City of Coquitlam. This year the four hour event will be held on Sunday, Oct. 20.

(See more photos in our Facebook album)

Helena removes a bed sheet from the stream. (Scott Creek)

Helena removes a bed sheet from the stream. (Scott Creek)

Volunteers collecting trash along Scott Creek north of Runnel Dr.

Volunteers collecting trash along Scott Creek north of Runnel Dr.

Volunteers of the Hoy/Scott Watershed Society stand near the information sign on Runnel Drive.

Volunteers of the Hoy/Scott Watershed Society stand near the information sign on Runnel Drive.


Salmon Hatchery Manager Opening in Coquitlam

Hoy Creek Hatchery is located east of Douglas College David Lam campus in Coquitlam, along Hoy Trail.

Hoy Creek Hatchery is located east of Douglas College David Lam campus in Coquitlam, along Hoy Trail.

(APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED — Thank you for your interest. If you’d like to volunteer with us, click our “Get Involved'“ button)

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society (HSWS) in Coquitlam, B.C. is seeking a fish hatchery manager. The individual will be trained by the current hatchery manager, Rodney Lee starting mid-September 2019 and will eventually assume the managing activities at the hatchery. No previous experience is needed, just reliability, an interest in fish and an appetite for learning and ability to coordinate.

This role will train in all aspects of managing the hatchery including broodstock collection, egg takes, equipment operation and maintenance, egg incubation and caring for the alevins and fry.

Interested persons should provide a brief essay stating interest, previous experience (if any) and why you would like this role. Please note that all volunteers working at the Hoy Creek Hatchery are members of the Hoy/Scott Watershed Society. This is a volunteer position.

Responsibilities:

  • Learn how the hatchery operates

  • Learn how to start-up and maintain equipment

  • Learn about salmon and primarily the 2 species we will be incubating - Chum and Coho

  • Learn how to capture and care for broodstock

  • Learn about and conduct the egg-take and fertilization process.

  • Learn about and maintain biosecurity protocol for the facility.

  • Assist with weekly and season maintenance activities

  • Assist with the care and feeding of all generations of fish

  • Assist with fish length and weight sampling including started fish health calculations

  • Assist with taking water quality measurements

  • Assist with operation of the rearing pond including the operation of the lower pond and outlet weir.

  • Learn about aquaculture in the context of the Salmon Enhancement Program through Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

  • Assist with planning and execution of fish marking (adipose clipping).

  • Assist with transport and release of surplus Coho fry to Upper Hoy and Upper Scott if necessary.

  • Provide a brief hatchery update to HSWS executive for monthly meetings (Sept. – June)

  • Assist at our public events: Salmon Come Home (October); Salmon Leave Home (May)

  • Act as the backup for the current hatchery manager, Rodney Lee until able to resume full responsibility as a hatchery manager.

Time commitment: Hours vary but would typically require at least 3 hours one morning per week September through June. Training would take place on Saturday mornings. This commitment starts with preparatory work for the broodstock capturing season and goes through to fin-clipping and transfer to the hatchery rearing pond; to the annual release of smolts in May. Summer months are less busy. The selected candidate must be available to attend to hatchery duties as they arise and needs vary a lot in the season. Living relatively close to the hatchery is a necessity.

Communication: Needs to be available by cell phone and text message as a primary means of communication. Email is secondary.

Benefits of the position:

  • 1 year free training from current manager of 11 years

  • Opportunity to learn from the Department of Fisheries staff to support one of the most significant sub-watersheds in the Coquitlam River watershed

  • Development opportunities available, including attendance at Pacific Streamkeepers Federation workshops / SEP conference

  • Rewarding work with a fun, friendly, committed group of volunteers

  • Volunteering looks great on a resume!

Please email the Hoy/Scott Watershed Society with questions or to state your interest in this role: hoyscottwatershed@gmail.com.

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society (HSWS) is a volunteer run non-profit society that operates a small salmon hatchery beside Hoy Creek, and conducts a salmon enhancement program in partnership with the City of Coquitlam, and with technical expertise from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The group stewards the Hoy and Scott Watersheds, promoting public awareness and education, and is involved in watershed habitat restoration and preservation. Learn more at our website: hoyscottcreeks.org

Hoy Creek Spill Quickly Contained

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Coquitlam, BC — On July 23 another spill was reported to the Hoy/Scott Watershed Society.

The white substance appeared to be paint and entered Hoy Creek through the storm drain between White Line cul de sac and Walton Ave, just before the wooden foot bridge north of the hatchery.

The spill was reported to Coquitlam Engineering at approximately 10:45 a.m. and representatives were on site 15 minutes later. They installed pads to absorb the spill. The area was contained and did not affect the lower creek or hatchery. See more photos on our Facebook page.

Please be mindful - everything entering a storm drain ends up in a creek. Creeks contain aquatic life that can’t survive pollution being dumped into the habitat. As members of the public, we all have a duty to steward and protect the environment that we live in.

Should you witness any suspected pollution being dumped into a storm drain, please take immediate action to report it to the authorities:

  • City of Coquitlam Engineering 24 hour emergency (Municipal): 604-927-3500

  • Observe, Record, Report (Federal): 1-800-465-4336

  • Report all poachers and polluters (Provincial): 1-877-952-RAPP

  • Email Hoy/Scott Watershed Society at hoyscottwatershed@gmail.com or message via us Facebook.

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Communities in Bloom Judges Visit Hoy Creek Hatchery

Communities in Bloom tour: (left to right) Maurice Cornelius; Maya Uno; CiB judge Alex Pearl; CiB judge John Lohuis; and president of Hoy/Scott Watershed Society, Robbin Whachell.

Communities in Bloom tour: (left to right) Maurice Cornelius; Maya Uno; CiB judge Alex Pearl; CiB judge John Lohuis; and president of Hoy/Scott Watershed Society, Robbin Whachell.

On July 18 we had another visit from the judges of Communities in Bloom - Collectivités en fleurs competition, of which the City of Coquitlam is a competitor.

Thanks to our youth volunteer Maya Uno who led our tour! Maya has been volunteering at Hoy Creek Hatchery since she was in grade 5. She's now in grade 12 and is a recipient of a Coquitlam environmental award.

Maya was assisted by Maurice Cornelius.

"Communities in Bloom - Collectivités en fleurs is about greening through environmental, natural heritage conservation and horticultural actions that involve citizens, businesses, institutions, and municipalities.  The program is focused on environmental stewardship through enhancement of green spaces."

On July 18 Alex Pearl and John Lohuis spent a busy day visiting City parks and locations and the salmon hatchery is one of the key places in the city that exemplify their ethos.

Feeding the coho fry at Hoy Creek Hatchery rearing pond. CiB judges Alex Pearl and John Lohuis. Communities in Bloom tour.

Feeding the coho fry at Hoy Creek Hatchery rearing pond. CiB judges Alex Pearl and John Lohuis. Communities in Bloom tour.

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society Initiates Storm Drain Education Campaign

HSWS volunteers, Ririka, Lani and Steven (and Robbin behind the camera) were out going door-to-door, and plan more outreach over the summer. . (HSWS photo)

HSWS volunteers, Ririka, Lani and Steven (and Robbin behind the camera) were out going door-to-door, and plan more outreach over the summer. . (HSWS photo)

It has been approximately six weeks since the Hoy Creek Hatchery and Hoy Creek suffered a fishkill due to a contaminant in the stream, which happened on May 28. (See video here)

Unfortunately no source was found, and test results showed there was no water quality parameter that was identified as the culprit, but the ammonia levels at a Hoy Creek storm outfall north of the hatchery had considerably high levels which would could point to high concentrations of bleach or chlorine.

In an effort to continue community education, volunteers of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society took to the streets north of the hatchery on July 13 to go door-to-door with educational material and a community notice with an aim to speak to anyone that was out on a Saturday morning about the fish kill in May.

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society community notice. If you’d like one please email us at hoyscottcreeks@gmail.com. We have them in English, French, Farsi, Chinese, and Punjabi. See PUBLIC NOTICE links below in a variety of languages. .

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society community notice. If you’d like one please email us at hoyscottcreeks@gmail.com. We have them in English, French, Farsi, Chinese, and Punjabi. See PUBLIC NOTICE links below in a variety of languages. .

The fishkill affected a loss of over half of the hatchery fish. While 2700 have survived, the tragic event is a good reminder of how precious our ecosystem is.

The society also wishes to thanks the public and hatchery / watershed neighbours who look out for spills and report any thing out of the ordinary.

Please be mindful - everything entering a storm drain ends up in a creek. Creeks contain aquatic life that can’t survive pollution being dumped into the habitat. As members of the public, we all have a duty to steward and protect the environment that we live in.

Should you witness any suspected pollution being dumped into a storm drain, please take immediate action to report it to the authorities:

  • City of Coquitlam Engineering 24 hour emergency (Municipal): 604-927-3500

  • Observe, Record, Report (Federal): 1-800-465-4336

  • Report all poachers and polluters (Provincial): 1-877-952-RAPP

TRANSLATED PUBLIC NOTICES: English /French; Farsi/Chinese/Korean)

Thank you to Tri-Cities Community TV for this interview below on the fish kill with society president, Robbin Whachell.

Volunteer, Lani Lehun pounding down a yellow fish decal by a storm drain. (HSWS photo)

Volunteer, Lani Lehun pounding down a yellow fish decal by a storm drain. (HSWS photo)

A new fish marker by a storm drain. HSWS members will be updating storm drains on streets north of the hatchery over the summer months. (HSWS photo)

A new fish marker by a storm drain. HSWS members will be updating storm drains on streets north of the hatchery over the summer months. (HSWS photo)

Rearing pond floorboards upgraded

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The Hoy/Scott Watershed wishes to thank the City of Coquitlam for securing our floorboards at the rearing pond at Hoy Creek Hatchery.

The integrity of the board were noted during the annual pond clean out which takes place after the release of our 5000 coho smolts at Salmon Leave Home in May.

Old and rotted wood were replaced.

Fishkill at Hoy Creek Hatchery a Reminder of How Precious Our Ecosystem Is

Photo taken approximately 4:30 p.m. on May 29, 2019 (HSWS photo)

Photo taken approximately 4:30 p.m. on May 29, 2019 (HSWS photo)

On May 29, president of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, Robbin Whachell was alerted by the City that a resident had reported dead fish in Hoy Creek. An hour later photos of the fish in stream were emailed to her.

At 4 p.m. she went down to the hatchery to investigate, finding that much of the fish in the hatchery Capilano trough were dead. These fish were coho salmon fry about 5-6 month old. She alerted the hatchery manager, Rodney Lee, who joined her there. It appeared that about 80% of the fish were lost.

The hatchery manager did an assessment of the creek north and south of the hatchery taking photos, trying to locate the source. The storm drain outfall at the foot bridge north of the hatchery close to Walton School did show bubbly foamy substance, and ammonia levels there could point to high concentrations of bleach or chlorine. Here is his hatchery manager’s report.

In review of social media messages later, it was discovered that one resident reported the dead fish at 6:30 p.m. on May 28 to the HSWS Facebook page.

The City of Coquitlam took a water sample the night of the 29th. HSWS president was around the area for about 2 hours and reported smelling a chemical similar to chlorine or ammonia, and could also taste chemical on her tongue.

The following day the hatchery was visited by various media houses and in the afternoon the dead fish were removed and buried.

The society was advised that the City looked into homes that have pools.

A week later the remaining fish were fin-clipped and another count was done. We’re pleased to report that 2700 fish survived. There is no way of knowing how many fish, crawfish, and lamprey died in the stream.

A report of the water testing was provided to the Society in June, but there was no water quality parameter that was identified as the culprit, but the ammonia levels at Hoy creek storm outfall north of the hatchery had considerably high levels which would could point to high concentrations of bleach or chlorine.

A community door-to-door education initiative will be planned by the society and hatchery manager Rodney Lee sent the following Letter to the Editor:

It only takes the carelessness, thoughtlessness or malicious action of a single individual to destroy life in our waterways. Unfortunately, this occurred on Hoy Creek last week. A highly toxic substance was dumped into a storm drain. This substance proceeded to kill thousands of fish and other aquatic animals in Hoy Creek. The loss of our hatchery salmon were dramatic. We, as hatchery volunteers, have spent countless hours raising our fish. We lost a good many of them in an instant. The losses amongst the wild fish populations truly heartbreaking as these are the populations we work hard to protect. They are priceless.

It’s been a week since this has occurred. I return to look at the Creek to find a single Coho fry present at the Hatchery bridge — a place where hundreds of wild fish lived a short while ago.

Please be mindful - everything entering a storm drain ends up in a creek. Creeks contain aquatic life that can’t survive pollution being dumped into the habitat. As members of the public, we all have a duty to steward and protect the environment that we live in. Should you witness any suspected pollution being dumped into a storm drain, please take immediate action to report it to the authorities:

  • City of Coquitlam Engineering 24 hour emergency (Municipal): 604-927-3500

  • Observe, Record, Report (Federal): 1-800-465-4336

  • Report all poachers and polluters (Provincial): 1-877-952-RAPP

My heartfelt thanks,

Rodney Lee
Hatchery Manager, Hoy Creek Hatchery
Vice President, Hoy/Scott Watershed Society

Global News: Pollution suspected in mass fish die off in Coquitlam

Tri-City News: Toxic Water Kills Hundreds of Fish in Coquitlam Creek

CTV News: Hundreds of Fish Die at Coquitlam Hatchery

Tri-City News: Coquitlam trying to fInd the source of fish kill

Daily Hive: Unknown Pollutant Causes Mass Death of Salmon in Coquitlam Hatchery

Hoy/Scott Watershed Society Loses Founding Member

Chris Hamming in 2018 during Salmon Come Home.

Chris Hamming in 2018 during Salmon Come Home.

Our society is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our founding members, Chris Hamming who passed away this month. Chris was a beloved retired school teacher and salmon educator; and a hard-working volunteer of not only the Hoy Creek Hatchery but Tynehead Hatchery as well. Chris also volunteered for many years at Science World.

In 2018 the Society honoured Chris for his many years of service. The photo above was taken during Salmon Come Home in 2018.

“Chris was such an extraordinary person,” said Keith Kozak, founding member of the Society. “His energies, inspiration, and dedication to his passions, and teaching was something to be admired. Chris was an invaluable resource for the formation of HSWS. When I was president, and our group decided to officially form a society, the time and numerous meetings with Chris for his feedback were extremely vital to our agenda.”

“I am sure that all Hoy members who knew Chris will miss his warm smile and positive attitude,” said founding member Linda Gorsline who now lives in Ontario. “He was a natural teacher, a lover of nature and was always interested in the opinions and ideas of others. He was always willing to help in Hoy projects. I am sad to know he has left us, but will always have happy memories of him and I am very pleased that I was lucky to know him.”

"Chris was one of the original members that encouraged me to get involved," said Tim Tyler, a former HSWS president. "He led with that smile and by doing, and was a pleasure to deal with: funny, enthusiastic, practical, optimistic and always willing to ‘lift his end of the log’ so to speak. A runner and rower, it was not widely known that as an educator he was also involved in the Science Fair on a regular basis. He was one of the good ones and his passing is a loss to us all. My condolences to his family."

His memorial service was held at Tapestry Mundy Park Church in Coquitlam on June 5. Hoy-Scott Watershed Society president Robbin Whachell spoke on behalf of the society. Read her remarks here.

Chris Hamming was knows as the “Salmon Educator” (seen here in 2015 at Salmon Come Home)

Chris Hamming was knows as the “Salmon Educator” (seen here in 2015 at Salmon Come Home)

Chris being interviewed on radio in 2015.

Chris being interviewed on radio in 2015.