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)

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.

Salmon Left Home Thanks to Many Volunteers

Salmon Leave Home 2019 at Hoy Creek Hatchery - Left to right: Pinetree student, Lucas; Elder Beverly and Chief Ed Hall of  Kwikwetlem First Nation . (Photo: HSWS)

Salmon Leave Home 2019 at Hoy Creek Hatchery - Left to right: Pinetree student, Lucas; Elder Beverly and Chief Ed Hall of Kwikwetlem First Nation. (Photo: HSWS)

Mother's Day was extra special this year as we released our coho smolts during an idyllic temperature day on May 12 at the Hoy Creek Hatchery.

Hundreds came out to take part in our Salmon Leave Home event, where 5000 coho smolts found their new home in Hoy Creek. From the creek, the smolts begin their journey to the ocean: Hoy Creek → Scott Creek → Coquitlam River → Fraser River → Strait of Georgia / Pacific Ocean!  

A student volunteer guides a boy in releasing a coho smolt at Salmon Leave Home

A student volunteer guides a boy in releasing a coho smolt at Salmon Leave Home

The student volunteers of the Pinetree Secondary School Community Club, and our own HSWS student volunteers played a huge part in the success of the event. They helped members hand out buckets of fish, kept the crowds directed to salmon release areas, assisted in safe salmon release, and led Mother’s Day themed plant crafts, as well as provided face-painting throughout the day. Thank you!

Honoured guests, Chief Ed Hall and Elder Beverly of Kwikwetlem First Nation were on hand for opening words and to release our first fish.

Thanks to all that took part in making this day special. Be sure to save the date, and join us in the fall for Salmon Come Home on October 20.

See more photos on our Facebook album.

Salmon Leave Home 2019 at Hoy Creek Hatchery -- THANK YOU Student Volunteers!

Salmon Leave Home 2019 at Hoy Creek Hatchery -- THANK YOU Student Volunteers!

Hoy/Scott Watershed Society Announces 2019 Executive

Voted in from left to right: Lilian Elliott, Director; Robbin Whachell, President; Lani Lehun, Director; and Sandra Uno, Director. The four join the existing executive already serving terms: Rodney Lee, Vice President & Hatchery Manager; Emily Rossi, Secretary; and Kyle Uno, Treasurer.

Voted in from left to right: Lilian Elliott, Director; Robbin Whachell, President; Lani Lehun, Director; and Sandra Uno, Director. The four join the existing executive already serving terms: Rodney Lee, Vice President & Hatchery Manager; Emily Rossi, Secretary; and Kyle Uno, Treasurer.

The Hoy-Scott Watershed Society held an annual general meeting on May 15, 2019 at the Coquitlam City Centre library.

Congratulations to the new and returning executive. Voted in was:

President - Robbin Whachell
Director - Lilian Elliott
Director - Sandra Uno
Director - Lani Lehun

The fore-mentioned join existing executive already serving terms: Rodney Lee, Vice President/Hatchery Manager; Emily Rossi, Secretary; and Kyle Uno, Treasurer.

"Our team of dedicated volunteers are to be commended for their time spent in keeping this Society progressing in our initiatives,” said re-elected president Robbin Whachell.  “This is not the time to take things lightly when it comes to our salmon. As a city grows, the environment must be at the top of our priorities.”

The Society is always seeking new membership and assistance. To get involved check our sign up page; or email hoyscottwatershed@gmail.com.

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. Find us on Facebook.


Salmon Leave Home at Hoy Creek on Mother's Day

A young boy releases a coho smolt on the edge of Hoy Creek, while a volunteer assists and looks on - at Salmon Leave Home 2018. (Photo: HSWS)

A young boy releases a coho smolt on the edge of Hoy Creek, while a volunteer assists and looks on - at Salmon Leave Home 2018. (Photo: HSWS)

The Hoy-Scott Watershed Society invites the community out for their annual Salmon Leave Home event on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hoy Creek Hatchery in Coquitlam.  People of all ages will have the opportunity to help release 18-month-old coho smolts into Hoy Creek.

“Salmon Leave Home is a great way for families to connect with nature, and brings awareness to our delicate ecosystem, right here in Coquitlam,” said society president, Robbin Whachell.  “Once the salmon are released, they make their way downstream to Scott Creek, then Coquitlam River, the Fraser River - which empties into the Strait of Georgia on the Pacific Ocean. They take about a year to get to the ocean, and then return in approximately 2 years to the same location where they were spawned.”  

The family-friendly free outdoor event will run rain or shine and the society will have families engaged in fishy fun. Students from the Pinetree Secondary community club will be providing face painting, and a family walk through the watershed is always beautiful at this time of year.

The event is a great opportunity to learn about the local fish hatchery and get information on the year-round volunteer-run salmon enhancement program, which includes work with plants in the riparian area of Hoy and Scott Creeks. 20,000 coho fry will also be on display.

The hatchery is located in the Hoy Creek Linear Park behind Douglas College and north of Guildford, a few minutes walk inland, and is only a ten-minute walk from the Lafarge Lake-Douglas skytrain station.  To find the exact location, simply Google “Hoy Creek Hatchery.”

RSVP to the Facebook event page to receive updates and a reminder.


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.

HSWS Attends Wild Salmon Policy Seminar

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The Wild Salmon Policy: Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon guides Canada and its partners in protection and conservation actions for the 5 iconic wild Pacific salmon species and their habitats.

We'd like to thank the North Shore Streamkeepers for the invitation to the workshop, the 'Wild Salmon Policy Implementation Plan: From Policy to Action' held on February 23 in North Vancouver. Attending on behalf or HSWS was president Robbin Whachell and assistant hatchery manager Lani Lehun.

Opening remarks were given by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada Jonathan Wilkinson, with talks by ZoAnn Morten of the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation, and Sarah Murdoch of the DFO.

An interesting panel discussion rounded off the afternoon with both speakers and fellow panelists David Patterson and Steve McDonald of the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre (DFO).

You can read the policy HERE.

Opening remarks by Jonathan Wilkinson MP Minister for Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard.

Opening remarks by Jonathan Wilkinson MP Minister for Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard.

What partners can do. Areas of focus…

What partners can do. Areas of focus…

A talk by Sarah Murdoch (DFO).

A talk by Sarah Murdoch (DFO).

2019 is the International Year of the Salmon

internationial year of the salmonn logo.png

The International Year of the Salmon is a five-year outreach and research initiative of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), with a focal year in 2019. It aims to raise public awareness, gather stakeholders, stimulate science, and inspire action to protect salmon. The endeavour covers several dimensions, including understanding the present status of salmon, the natural and human factors that affect them, and the ways in which communities can contribute to sustaining salmon. It also strives to improve and develop technologies and data systems, allowing us to better collect and share information that can help manage salmon populations and their environments responsibly.

Throughout the year, the Government of Canada will participate in events, and take steps to protect salmon populations. Together with leading conservation organisations, academia, Indigenous peoples, other countries, and scientists from around the world, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is pleased to take part in protecting wild salmon for future generations.

Follow the conversation on social media at #YearoftheSalmon and visit International Year of the Salmon.

(The above information was taken from the Department of Fisheries)

Facebook page: International Year of the Salmon - North Pacific

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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