Robbin Whachell

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.




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)

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.


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).

Salmon Come Home a Success Despite Lack of Fish

SCH HSWS Team with Ed Hall.jpg

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.

SCH Live Salmon.jpg

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.

SCH Rodney Lee Hatchery manageer.jpg
SCH Angela Brown.jpg
SCH Chris Salmon Talks.jpg






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." 

Certificate of Appreciation.jpg

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.