coho salmon

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

Salmon Leave Home to be held Sunday, May 7th

Poster-Salmon-Leave-Home-2017

Join the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society on Sunday, May 7th for Salmon Leave Home at the Hoy Creek Hatchery which is located in the woods behind Douglas College north of Guildford Way in Coquitlam.   Salmon Leave Home provides the community the opportunity to help release coho smolts into Hoy Creek.  The salmon are approximately 17 months old and can range in length from 4 to 8 inches. Since their incubation, they have been living in a freshwater stream environment at hatchery.

The annual event takes place from 11am to 2pm and will go 'rain or shine'.  Society volunteers will net and bucket the fish from the rearing pond, and children of all ages will carry the buckets a short distance to the creek to release the salmon.

From there, the smolts begin their journey to the sea via Hoy Creek, then Scott Creek, then Coquitlam River, then the Fraser River, and finally into the Strait of Georgia at the Pacific Ocean! 

This free family event will also offer educational activities, and music will be provided by 98.7 The Point.

The Hoy Creek Hatchery is located on Hoy Creek Trail, west of the City Centre Aquatic Complex at the corner of Pinetree and Guildford Way.

Hoy Trail has a several entrances:
- Walk in from Princess Crescent;
- Walk in from behind Douglas College;
- Walk in from Guildford Way (between Johnson and Pinetree);
- Walk in from Walton Avenue, or behind Walton Elementary;
- Walk in from the foot of Lasalle Place.

To find the exact location simply Google, "Hoy Creek Hatchery."

Stay notified via our Facebook page and be sure to invite your family and friends!  Our event hashtag is #salmonleavehome, so if you attend, feel free to tweet or share, and check out what others are posting with our event hashtag.

(Photos from last year)