Salmon Come Home a Success Despite Lack of Fish

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The twenty-sixth annual Salmon Come Home event was a huge success as over 2000 people attended the environmentally focused festival to celebrate the return of salmon at Hoy Creek Hatchery on October 21.

Despite no sightings of mature salmon in the stream due to the long dry spell prior to the event, the crowds had much to ponder as it relates to the protection of our local habitat.

Exhibitors included Articipation (John Lewis), Burke Mountain Naturalists, City of Coquitlam (Urban Wildlife, Waste Reduction and Water Conservation), Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable, Coquitlam Riverwatch, Friends of DeBoville Slough, Kintec, Maple Creek Watershed Streamkeepers, Vancity Pinetree Branch, 13th Burnaby Venturers Scouts, and St. John Ambulance.

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The event, which is co hosted with the City of Coquitlam opened with words from Ed Hall of Kwikwetlem First Nation.

Children’s entertainer, Angela Brown provided stories and had little ones and parents dressed up in costumes of animals, insects and birds for parades and storytelling in her giant inflatable salmon.

The Wil D. Salmon show featured the sounds of local entertainers Zoey Levin, Etienne Siew, Julia DePieri, and Joyelle Brandt.

The society provided tours of the hatchery and hourly salmon education talks with founding member, Chris Hamming and hatchery manager, with Rodney Lee.

 HSWS founding member, Chris Hamming. Presented with a gift by HSWS secretary, Emily Rossi

HSWS founding member, Chris Hamming. Presented with a gift by HSWS secretary, Emily Rossi

The highlight of the day was a special presentation to Chris Hamming for his years of service to Hoy-Scott Watershed Society.

A big thank you to all the volunteers who assisted with event setup, take-down, face painting and games, mascots and more. Special thanks to the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, Vancity, and Fisheries & Oceans Canada.

Since the event, the rains have returned and both coho and chum salmon are now returning to Hoy and Scott Creeks. Prime viewing of returning salmon is usually from mid-October to early November.

“The watershed is a beautiful place to explore nature, Everyone is encouraged to take time to witness this awe-inspiring spectacle at any of the local creeks, most of which run through public spaces and are accessible to everyone.

 Wil D Salmon and singer Etienne Siew

Wil D Salmon and singer Etienne Siew

Hoy Creek Hatchery is home to 5000 young coho housed in the outdoor rearing pond which will be released in May 2019 at Salmon Leave Home. Hoy Trail offers a beautiful walk featuring towering trees and active bird life. You can watch for the great blue heron that fishes at Hoy Creek near the hatchery most evenings.

The Hoy Creek Hatchery is in Hoy Creek Linear Park, west of the City Centre Aquatic Complex (Pinetree and Guildford Way), and is a seven-minute walk from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain Station.

Visitors can walk in from a variety of locations: from Princess Crescent, from behind Douglas College; from Guildford Way (between Johnson and Pinetree), from Walton Avenue or behind Walton Elementary, or from the foot of Lasalle Place.

View EVENT PHOTO ALBUM on Facebook.

Follow the Society on their Facebook page.

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Salmon Come Home to Focus on Watershed Protection

 Salmon educator Chris Hamming

Salmon educator Chris Hamming

Enjoy the fall colours, celebrate the salmon, and learn about your environment at the twenty-sixth annual Salmon Come Home at Hoy Creek Hatchery on Sunday, Oct. 21.

Co-hosted by the City of Coquitlam and Hoy-Scott Watershed Society (HSWS), the free family event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with music, face painting, crafts, displays and conversation with local environmental groups, food, and Angela Brown's Nylon Zoo costume parades.

Fall is the time that salmon return to Hoy and Scott Creeks, and rain is an essential element that raises creek levels, allowing the salmon to swim upstream to the area they were born to complete their life-cycle, spawn and die. Prime viewing of returning salmon is usually from mid-October to early November.

“With no rain expected before the event, it may be unlikely that we’ll see salmon instream, however, this will not take away from the purpose of the event,” said Hoy-Scott Watershed Society president, Robbin Whachell, “that is to educate about the salmon and bring awareness to preserving our habitat to ensure its return in the years to come.”

Salmon educator and HSWS founding member, Chris Hamming will be on hand to offer interesting and fun facts on salmon, one of nature’s great wonders.  Hatchery tours will be conducted – the facility is home to 5000 young coho which will be released in May 2019. Hoy Creek is also home to wild baby salmon often visible in the shadows or seen under the bridge ways. Hoy Trail offers a beautiful walk featuring towering trees and active birdlife.

 The hatchery is home to 5000 young coho which will be released in May 2019.

The hatchery is home to 5000 young coho which will be released in May 2019.

The Hoy-Scott Watershed Streamkeepers formed a society in 1992, with a mandate to promote watershed restoration and public awareness of the need to preserve the creek and surrounding habitat. With the support of the Department of Fisheries & Oceans, the society works to increase both coho and chum salmon populations.

A clear warm weather day is in the forecast for Oct. 21, however the event runs rain or shine.

The Hoy Creek Hatchery is in Hoy Creek Linear Park, west of the City Centre Aquatic Complex (Pinetree and Guildford Way), and is a seven-minute walk from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain Station.

Visitors can walk in from a variety of locations: from Princess Crescent, from behind Douglas College; from Guildford Way (between Johnson and Pinetree), from Walton Avenue or behind Walton Elementary, or from the foot of Lasalle Place.

Free parking is available at Coquitlam City Hall, Pinetree Community Centre and Douglas College.

Receive a reminder by RSVPing to the event’s Facebook page, or go to hoyscottcreeks.org for more information.

 It’s a beautiful time of year to explore Hoy Trail.

It’s a beautiful time of year to explore Hoy Trail.

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Trash Removed from Section of Hoy Creek

 Ryan, Steven, Larry, Nathen, Kyle, Sandra, Maya and Robbin took part.

Ryan, Steven, Larry, Nathen, Kyle, Sandra, Maya and Robbin took part.

On August 26, 2018, volunteer members of the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society took part in an annual creek clean. Late summer is the best time to walk in-stream as it’s the time less likely to disturb fish or eggs.

Each year a section of Hoy or Scott Creek is pre-selected and volunteers walk in the creek, and along it to remove garbage as well as inspect areas that may have been overtaken by invasive species or a dam.

Focusing on Hoy Creek this year, we started at Glen Drive and ended up almost but not quite to Barnet Highway.

Items removed from the creek were: a couch, bicycle, chair, gardening tools, construction wood,  a bag of fish remains, mini barbecue, clothing, a bucket and the usual litter (bottles, cans, food wrappers, cigarettes). 

If you would like to be involved in work such as this, the Society is always looking for new volunteers. Click our “Get Involved” button to learn more or email us at hoyscottwatershed@gmail.com


Hatchery and watershed tour provided to Douglas College

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Dubbed, "A Walk to Remember - Hoy Creek Salmon Hatchery Tour" students, faculty and friends of the IUE – the Institute of Urban Ecology of Douglas College in Coquitlam were given a casual and interactive 2-hour tour of the Hoy Creek salmon hatchery and surrounding area on July 19.

Led by hatchery manager, Rodney Lee, who was assisted by Hoy-Scott Watershed Society director, Lani Lehun, the tour provided information on the year-round operations of the hatchery, the salmon raised there, and the processes. 

The tour was concluded with a walk along Hoy Creek Trail were the riparian area, and invasive and non-invasive plant life were observed and discussed. 

Hoy - Scott Watershed Society, (HSWS) is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run environmental stewardship group, that conducts a salmon enhancement program in partnership with the City of Coquitlam, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. We are actively involved in watershed restoration, public awareness, education, and preservation.

 Tour at Hoy Creek Hatchery on Hoy Trail, Coquitlam.

Tour at Hoy Creek Hatchery on Hoy Trail, Coquitlam.

 Rodney shows the salmon rearing pond. 

Rodney shows the salmon rearing pond. 

Hatchery tour provided to Communities in Bloom judges

 Left to right: Maya Uno of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, Jim Baird and Evelyn Alemanni of Communities in Bloom. 

Left to right: Maya Uno of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, Jim Baird and Evelyn Alemanni of Communities in Bloom. 

Hoy Creek Hatchery was once again a point of interest for visiting judges of the Communities in Bloom competition.  

"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 19 Jim Baird (USA) and Evelyn Alemanni (USA) 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.

Leading the tour for the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society was Maya Uno, a City of Coquitlam environmental award recipient.

 HSWS member and environtmental award recipient, Maya Uno at Hoy Creek Hatchery. 

HSWS member and environtmental award recipient, Maya Uno at Hoy Creek Hatchery. 

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society acknowledged at City environmental awards

 Members of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society with their certificate of appreciation pose with Hucklebeary at Coquitlam city hall. 

Members of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society with their certificate of appreciation pose with Hucklebeary at Coquitlam city hall. 

The City of Coquitlam held its fourteenth Environmental Achievement Award celebration on Sunday, June 24 recognizing community volunteers who excel in the areas of conservation, public awareness, environmental education, habitat enhancement and sustainable living.  In addition, the award recipients show initiative and leadership while volunteering for projects that have long-term environmental benefits for the community.

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society (HSWS) received a certificate of appreciation for the volunteer work that we do. 

Representing the Society at the event held at City Hall, was the president, Robbin Whachell; director Lani Lehun; past director, Nathen Blower; longtime members Earl and Lilian Elliott; and newcomers, Steven Wang, and Leo Li. 

"It's wonderful to connect with like-minded groups at this annual event and learn about the wonderful things others are doing," said Robbin Whachell. "It's definitely motivation for our team, and, while not everyone was able to attend, they are appreciated. It means a lot to be recognized for the effort we put in." 

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Below is a video produced by the City of Coquitlam showcasing local environmental groups. 

For a full list of recipients, check out the City's press release HERE.

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society announces 2018 executive

 Left to right: Robbin Whachell, President; Lani Lehun, Director; Chris Hamming, Director; Kyle Uno, Treasurer; Sandra Uno, Director; and Rodney Lee, President. (Missing from photo: Emily Rossi and Arno Hazebroek)

Left to right: Robbin Whachell, President; Lani Lehun, Director; Chris Hamming, Director; Kyle Uno, Treasurer; Sandra Uno, Director; and Rodney Lee, President. (Missing from photo: Emily Rossi and Arno Hazebroek)

The Hoy-Scott Watershed Society held an annual general meeting on May 15, 2018 at the Coquitlam library and voted in the following executive: 

Vice President - Rodney Lee
Director - Chris Hamming
Director - Sandra Uno
Director - Arno Hazebroek
Director - Lani Lehun

On June 19, Emily Rossi was voted in as secretary... 

"We have a great group of dedicated individuals on our executive, who volunteer their time to keep this Society going and progressing in our initiatives," said Robbin Whachell, the current president of the Society.  

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, (HSWS) is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run environmental stewardship group, that conducts a year-round salmon enhancement program in partnership with the City of Coquitlam, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. We are actively involved in watershed restoration, public awareness, education, and preservation.

Annual adipose fin-clip held at Hoy Creek Hatchery

 Hatchery manager Rodney Lee demos the adipose fin-clipping procedure as Tyler Thibault of the DFO looks on (center). 

Hatchery manager Rodney Lee demos the adipose fin-clipping procedure as Tyler Thibault of the DFO looks on (center). 

Close to 6000 coho salmon had their adipose fin clipped as part of a Department of Fisheries Canada encouraged exercise at Hoy Creek Hatchery in Coquitlam on June 20.  The salmon are approximately 6 months old. The adipose fin is a soft, fleshy fin found on the top of the salmon, on the back behind the dorsal fin and just forward of the caudal fin.

Although it's not mandatory, the DFO strongly advise hatcheries to clip the adipose fins for several reasons:

  • When salmon return to spawn, the clipped fins allow hatcheries to monitor their return
  • Most sports fisherman know that clipped coho can be kept, while wild coho must be returned
  • Clipped fish returns help DFO assess overall returns, helping to ensure the wild salmon are more dominant.
  • The procedure also allows for a manual fish count, whereas previously only weight sample counts took place. 
 Everyone counts the fish they clip. Close to 6000 fish were processed. 

Everyone counts the fish they clip. Close to 6000 fish were processed. 

Overseen by DFO fisheries technician, Tyler Thibault, a group of about ten Hoy-Scott Watershed Society volunteers came out to help in the operation.  Hatchery manager, Rodney Lee explained the procedure to a few people who were clipping their first time. 

First, the fish are anesthetized in small batches. Once in the solution, they become sleepy within minutes. The volunteers stand ready around a table equipped with a trough with flowing water and beds of water for the fish to lay in. Volunteers work quickly and very carefully to clip fins with disinfected surgical scissors before they wake up, which is within about a minute. Fish are put into the outside trough and end up in the bucket at the end of the table. They are returned to the hatchery to recover. 

 Fin clipping volunteers of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society with Tyler Thibault of the DFO at Hoy Creek Hatchery. (Missing: Nathen Blower)

Fin clipping volunteers of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society with Tyler Thibault of the DFO at Hoy Creek Hatchery. (Missing: Nathen Blower)

The fish will soon be transferred from the hatchery Capilano trough room, and will live in the rearing pond until Salmon Leave Home in May 2019. Once they are released, they stay about a year in the stream making their way to the ocean. Fish from this brood could then return in about 2.5 years.

Thanks to all those who helped out this year!

(Watch our VIDEO below).

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. 

Back pond reinforced at Hoy Creek Hatchery

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Over a few weeks in May 2018, the back rearing pond  (west of the screened rearing pond) was partially drained and inspected. This has not been done in many years. 

A new liner was added to the pond, and the banks were reinforced with new sandbags. Work sessions took place on Saturday mornings and during the week.

It was discovered that a small channel had formed around the pond's outflow area and salmon were getting confused by it since it didn't lead to the creek. It's all good now - we fixed it! 

 What the pond area looks like with most of the water drained. 

What the pond area looks like with most of the water drained. 

 Leo and Steven working hard to fill sand bags to secure the pond area. 

Leo and Steven working hard to fill sand bags to secure the pond area. 

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. 

HSWS attends JOTT 21 - Jamboree on the Trail

 Boy scouts check out creepy crawlies from Hoy Creek at the Jamboree in Belcarra Regional Park. 

Boy scouts check out creepy crawlies from Hoy Creek at the Jamboree in Belcarra Regional Park. 

A big thank you to Scouts Canada for inviting Hoy - Scott Watershed Society to participate in JOTT 21, the Jamboree on the Trail event held at Belcarra Park on Saturday, May 12.

HSWS members, Rodney and Lani brought along some very cool friends we found in the pond - 2 Lamprey, a Crayfish and some Caddisfly bugs. Yes, those are in our creeks!

It was a really fun day with the kids. All the creepy crawlers were returned to Hoy Creek that afternoon!

 A crayfish from Hoy Creek

A crayfish from Hoy Creek

 A lamprey from Hoy Creek

A lamprey from Hoy Creek

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

 Vice president and hatchery manager for Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, Rodney Lee talks to boy scouts at JOTT21 - Jamboree on the Trail in Belcarra Park. 

Vice president and hatchery manager for Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, Rodney Lee talks to boy scouts at JOTT21 - Jamboree on the Trail in Belcarra Park.