BC

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 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.


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. 

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. 

Watch a Blue Heron Eat a Lamprey in Hoy Creek

Check out this blue heron who frequents Hoy Creek for his evening meals.  This video was taken by by the Hoy Creek salmon hatchery by a Hoy-Scott Watershed Society member.

The blue heron catches a lamprey, and through patience, perseverance and careful beak skills he finally consumes his take.

The snake-like lamprey put up a good fight!  

"Lampreys are any jawless fish of the order Petromyzontiformes, placed in the superclass Cyclostomata. The adult lamprey may be characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth. " - Wikipedia

 

25th Salmon Come Home Draws Record Attendance in Coquitlam

25 years!  A group photo and cake to commemorate 25 years of "Salmon Come Home."  Seen left to right: Maya Uno (front), Tyler Thibault, Rodney Lee, Robbin Whachell (front), AJ Currie (back), Dave Bennie, Earl Elliott, Tony Matahlija, Scott Ducharme, Caresse Selk, Kyle Uno (back), Sandra Uno, Lilian Elliott (back), Dr. Elaine Golds, and Chris Hamming. 

25 years!  A group photo and cake to commemorate 25 years of "Salmon Come Home."  Seen left to right: Maya Uno (front), Tyler Thibault, Rodney Lee, Robbin Whachell (front), AJ Currie (back), Dave Bennie, Earl Elliott, Tony Matahlija, Scott Ducharme, Caresse Selk, Kyle Uno (back), Sandra Uno, Lilian Elliott (back), Dr. Elaine Golds, and Chris Hamming. 

The 25th instalment of Salmon Come Home on August 22 at the Hoy Creek Hatchery had close to 4000  people turn out to celebrate the return of the salmon.

After a very dry summer and fall, rains did come through in time for salmon viewing although not in the same numbers as years prior. 

THROWBACK: A 2004 Tri-City News ad for Salmon Come Home

THROWBACK: A 2004 Tri-City News ad for Salmon Come Home

One patron said, "What an awesome event it was! Thank you for all that you planned and thanks to the gorgeous salmon who gave us all quite the show!"

A great time was had by all as people enjoyed seeing live salmon demonstrations, a salmon dissection, live entertainment by the Wild Salmon Creative Café featuring Raymond Matthew, Lana Crockett, Etienne Siew, Amy Lubik, and First Nation spoken word artist, Ostwelve (a Kwikwetlem descendant). 

The ever popular Angela Brown: The Ta Daa Lady & The Nylon Zoo entertained children of all ages with stories and a costume parade of woodland creatures. 

A live chum salmon. (Photo: Tina-Louise Harris) 

A live chum salmon. (Photo: Tina-Louise Harris) 

A celebratory cake was served, with an official photo to commemorate the 25th year of the event which is a collaboration between Hoy-Scott Watershed Society (HSWS) and the City of Coquitlam. Founding HSWS member, Chris Hamming was there to help cut the cake along with Dr. Elaine Golds of the Burke Mountain Naturalists, and Tony Matahlija from the North Fraser Salmon Assistance Project who was one of those who helped build the hatchery. 

When the festival started in 1992, today’s Hoy-Scott Watershed Society was known as the Hoy-Scott Watershed Streamkeepers and the hatchery did not yet exist. The event was in its fifth year when the hatchery was built in 1997 on the grounds of a former trout-rearing facility on the old Frederick Brewer property. The site was restored in 1995 with help from the City, federal government and volunteers, and the pond that used to rear trout now helps raise salmon.

Cutting the cake for 25 years of Salmon Come Home - left to right: Dr. Elaine Golds of Burke Mountain Naturalists who have been coming to Salmon Come Home probably since day 1, Tony Matahlija from North Fraser Salmon Assistance Project, who helped build the hatchery, and HSWS founding member and salmon educator, Chris Hamming.

Cutting the cake for 25 years of Salmon Come Home - left to right: Dr. Elaine Golds of Burke Mountain Naturalists who have been coming to Salmon Come Home probably since day 1, Tony Matahlija from North Fraser Salmon Assistance Project, who helped build the hatchery, and HSWS founding member and salmon educator, Chris Hamming.

The Hoy-Scott Watershed Streamkeepers formed a society in 1992, with an expanded mandate to promote watershed restoration and public awareness of the need to preserve the creek and surrounding habitat. Having met the original goal of rebuilding the coho population, the society extended its focus in 2015 to include chum salmon. 

A big thank you to this year's sponsors, Vancity and 98 7 The Point radio. 

Visitors and residents of Coquitlam view salmon in Hoy Creek during Salmon Come Home - salmon viewing is at its peak into December.  (Photo: Tina-Louise Harris) 

Visitors and residents of Coquitlam view salmon in Hoy Creek during Salmon Come Home - salmon viewing is at its peak into December.  (Photo: Tina-Louise Harris) 

Close to 4000 came out from far and wide for Salmon Come Home 2017! (HSWS photo)

Close to 4000 came out from far and wide for Salmon Come Home 2017! (HSWS photo)

See more photos below or view the City of Coquitlam Facebook album HERE
View more candid photos in the HSWS Facebook album HERE.

Photos seen below were taken by Tina-Louise Harris. 

Salmon Come Home to Celebrate 25th Anniversary on October 22

Rodney Lee, hatchery manager for HSWS holds a chum salmon for all to see at a previous Salmon Come Home event.  (City of Coquitlam photo) 

Rodney Lee, hatchery manager for HSWS holds a chum salmon for all to see at a previous Salmon Come Home event.  (City of Coquitlam photo) 

COQUITLAM, BC – Watching salmon fight their way upstream to spawn each fall is an awe-inspiring experience – even after a quarter century.

This year’s Salmon Come Home event at Hoy Creek Hatchery Oct. 22 celebrates 25 years of welcoming the salmon back to their spawning grounds, and educating the public about the lifecycle of salmon and the watershed that supports it.   

Co-hosted by the City of Coquitlam and Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, the free family event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes hatchery tours, music, crafts, environmental displays, food, and children’s activities such as a costume parade and storytelling. 

The highlight is witnessing the return of chum and coho salmon to the creek where they were spawned, after living most of their adult lives at sea. Prime viewing of the returning salmon is from mid-October to early November.

When the festival started in 1992, today’s Hoy-Scott Watershed Society was known as the Hoy-Scott Watershed Streamkeepers and the hatchery did not yet exist. The event was in its fifth year when the hatchery was built in 1997 on the grounds of a former trout-rearing facility on the old Frederick Brewer property. The site was restored in 1995 with help from the City, federal government and volunteers, and the pond that used to rear trout now helps raise salmon.

Salmon educator and HSWS founding member, Chris Hamming. (City of Coquitlam photo) 

Salmon educator and HSWS founding member, Chris Hamming. (City of Coquitlam photo) 

The Hoy-Scott Watershed Streamkeepers formed a society in 1992, with an expanded mandate to promote watershed restoration and public awareness of the need to preserve the creek and surrounding habitat. Having met the original goal of rebuilding the coho population, the society extended its focus in 2015 to include chum salmon. 

While Salmon Come Home has evolved and grown over the years – now typically attracting thousands each year – at its heart it has always been a celebration of one of nature’s wonders: the salmon’s annual return to its spawning grounds. 

Those attending on Oct. 22 are advised to dress for the weather. 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.

For the Google location map, click HERE.
RSVP to the Facebook Event Page.

FB-Salmon Come Home ad Poster 8 5x11.jpg

Aquatic Invertebrate Survey Conducted at Hoy Creek

Invertebrate sampling

On Saturday, September 23, approximately 8 volunteers from of Hoy-Scott Watershed Society took part in an invertebrate survey, of which details were provided to the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation 'Streamkeepers Database.' Numerous curious members of the public, who happened to be walking by the area also participated. 

To start, two 30x30 cm samples were taken from Hoy Creek immediately upstream of the Hoy Creek hatchery using a D frame net designed for invertebrate surveys.

Water containing the invertebrates from the creek (the samples) was divided into several wash basin sized samples. Kids and adults then patiently inspected each sample, capturing all the aquatic invertebrates using a spoon or pipette, placing them into an ice cube square according to the type of invertebrate.

Nearly 400 invertebrates from the two 30x30 cm samples were counted and sorted into 12 different groups (taxa).  That works out to a density of over 2000 aquatic invertebrates per square metre of creek bed!

Aquatic-Invertebrate.jpg

The observations were then used to conduct basic water quality and diversity assessments of the creek using several different indices (e.g. Pollution Tolerant Index, EPT Index, Predominant Taxon Ratio).

Our sample achieved a 'good' rating (the highest rating) across all four indices.

The most abundant aquatic invertebrates in the samples were caddisflies. Their cases (houses they build themselves and attach to rocks) could be seen all over the rocks where the samples were taken.

There were also mayflies, scuds, aquatic works, leeches, water mites and stoneflies captured.

The prize catch of the day were two giant stoneflies, which measured nearly 5 cm in length.

A great find! Two large stoneflies. 

A great find! Two large stoneflies. 

Data was uploaded to the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation website and is available HERE.

Vancity supports the 25th Salmon Come Home event in Coquitlam

Vancity manager Omar (left) presents a $500 cheque to HSWS secretary Emily (center with daughter Joan) and HSWS president Robbin (right) for Salmon Come Home. 

Vancity manager Omar (left) presents a $500 cheque to HSWS secretary Emily (center with daughter Joan) and HSWS president Robbin (right) for Salmon Come Home. 

A huge thank you to Vancity Credit Union, Pinetree branch in Coquitlam, for their continued support of the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, as earlier this month they donated $500.00 toward Salmon Come Home, one of the City of Coquitlam's signature events held this year on Sunday, October 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hoy Creek Hatchery.

2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the community event which is a collaboration between the Municipality and the Society. 

"As a non-profit group, we really appreciate and encourage local business support with any or all of our initiatives," said Robbin Whachell, President, Hoy-Scott Watershed Society. "Thank you Vancity for helping us highlight the importance of our environment and the wonder of the salmon."

The salmon is a unique creature in that it returns to the exact stream that is was born to spawn and die.  Peak viewing of salmon spawning in Hoy Creek is between mid-October and December. 

Salmon Come Home attracts thousands of people who come out to celebrate the salmon return and learn about the work of the Society, as well as other local environmental groups.  Participating thisyear is the following:

Articipation,
BC Hydro Power Smart Outreach,
Burke Mountain Naturalists,
City of Coquitlam - Bad Seed/Urban Forestry,
City of Coquitlam - Solid Waste and Recycling,
City of Coquitlam - Urban Wildlife,
City of Coquitlam - Water Conservation,
Coquitlam Riverwatch,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada,
Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC,
Friends of DeBoville Slough,
Hoy/Scott Watershed Society,
Hyde Creek Watershed Society,
Kintec,
Maple Creek Watershed Streamkeepers ,
MetroVancouver Regional Parks,
Port Moody Ecological Society,
Vancity Pinetree Branch,
Watershed Watch Salmon Society, and
Wild Salmon Creative Café.

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.

Fishy Fun at 2017 Salmon Leave Home

A mother and son peek at a coho fingerling held by a HSWS volunteer at Salmon Leave Home (Photo: Robbin Whachell / HSWS)

A mother and son peek at a coho fingerling held by a HSWS volunteer at Salmon Leave Home (Photo: Robbin Whachell / HSWS)

And they're gone!

Coho smolts that had their start in life at the Hoy Creek Hatchery in Coquitlam are well on their way to adapting to life in the stream.  Approximately 5000 smolts were released at Hoy-Scott Watershed Society's Salmon Leave Home event on May 7th.

When ready, they will make their way from Hoy Creek to Scott Creek, then Coquitlam River, then to the Fraser River, and then on to the Straight of Georgia and the Pacific Ocean.

A father and son set to release coho smolts into Hoy Creek during Salmon Leave Home on May 7th, 2017. (Photo: Robbin Whachell / HSWS)

A father and son set to release coho smolts into Hoy Creek during Salmon Leave Home on May 7th, 2017. (Photo: Robbin Whachell / HSWS)

The weather was perfect for the family fun free community event, and there was a steady flow of people throughout the day.  Patrons learned about the life-cycle of the salmon, viewed hatchery facilities, and had fun building bird boxes, getting face-painted, and doing fish-crafts.  Music was provided by 98.7 The Point radio. Watershed Watch Salmon Society was also on had with crafts for the kids and education for all. Jay Peachy honoured the Kwikwetlem First Nation traditional territory and delivered the "Salmon Song" accompanied by drumming.

The highlight of the day was the release of the smolts, as children of all ages delighted in carrying young salmon in buckets from the rearing pond a short distance to release them into Hoy Creek.

Face-painting, building bird boxes, and fish crafts...

Face-painting, building bird boxes, and fish crafts...

The society wishes to thank all of our hard working volunteers from Pinetree Secondary.

Over the summer things generally slow down at the hatchery, but volunteers still continue to oversee the care of some 25,000 coho fry, approximately 5 months old, who will be transferred into the rearing pond before June.

The bird box building station at Salmon Leave Home. 

The bird box building station at Salmon Leave Home. 

See ALL of our photos from Salmon Leave Home on our Facebook album HERE.

Work also continues in the riparian areas of the watershed to ensure invasive species are reduced and native plants are thriving. A healthy riparian area ensures a healthy creek.

In July or August the society also does a stream cleanup, removing trash and debris from Scott and Hoy Creeks. To get involved, click our "Get Involved" button, or email the Society at hoyscottwatershed@gmail.com