fish

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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Fourth annual fin clipping exercise at Hoy Creek Hatchery

Volunteers carefully snip the adipose fin off a sedated coho fry

Volunteers carefully snip the adipose fin off a sedated coho fry

On June 15, 2017 we performed our fourth fin clipping exercise at Hoy Creek Hatchery for our coho salmon fry.

The adipose fin is removed after the fish are sedated. It's a fast process and many careful hands make light work.

The entire procedure is overseen by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. All fry recovered expect one of approximately 5500 fishmarked.  The markings help the society identify hatchery fish during returns in the fall.

Thanks to Hoy-Scott Watershed members who provided the photos seen here.

Many hands make light and fast work! Hoy-Scott Watershed Volunteers during our fourth annual fin-clipping exercise

Many hands make light and fast work! Hoy-Scott Watershed Volunteers during our fourth annual fin-clipping exercise

Sedated coho fry. 

Sedated coho fry. 

Pinetree Secondary School Assists in Invasive Plant Removal

Pinetree Secondary School students helping clear invasive Himalayan blackberry along Hoy Creek (Photo: Kyle Uno / HSWS)

Pinetree Secondary School students helping clear invasive Himalayan blackberry along Hoy Creek (Photo: Kyle Uno / HSWS)

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society spent another morning removing invasive Himalayan blackberry with the enthusiastic help of students from Pinetree Secondary School on April 1st, 2017. An area along Hoy Creek was cleared. Work was wet, muddy, and prickly with the thorny brambles.

"The students from Pinetree Secondary have been very helpful with our work in the riparian area," said Rodney Lee, Vice President, Hoy-Scott Watershed Society. "Rain or shine, they come out and get muddy with us; and many hands make light work.  They provide a welcomed and appreciated contribution!"  See more photos on the HSWS Google Photos page.

Wet, muddy and prickly work, as Pinetree Secondary student clip the invasive Himayalan blackberry along Hoy Creek. (Photo: Kyle Uno / HSWS)

Wet, muddy and prickly work, as Pinetree Secondary student clip the invasive Himayalan blackberry along Hoy Creek. (Photo: Kyle Uno / HSWS)

Aside from the salmon enhancement program, Hoy-Scott Watershed Society works within the riparian area to enhance the creek system. Invasive plants can overtake native plants. Healthy native plants ensure the health of the creek, protecting the water from heavy sunlight, ensuring cooler temperatures for fish and bug life.

To get involved with the Society, click the "Get Involved" button on the upper right-hand-side of our website, or email the Society at hoyscottwatershed@gmail.com

Albino chum discovered at Hoy Creek Hatchery

An albino chum salmon fry seen next to normal chum fry

An albino chum salmon fry seen next to normal chum fry

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society's hatchery manager, Rodney Lee discovered a rare albino chum salmon fry this past week while assessing fish in the incubation room at Hoy Creek hatchery in Coquitlam.

Last year we found a conjoined twin coho fry

Fish kill in Scott Creek reported

Photo: Robbin Whachell / HSWS

Photo: Robbin Whachell / HSWS

On August 22nd, the City of Coquitlam Environmental Services Division reported a salmonid fish kill on August 22nd in Scott Creek of approximately 200 juvenile fish.

"This was most likely due to extreme heat, (30 C plus degrees) experienced last week in combination of the introduction of fire foam and contaminants to the creek through the storm sewer as a result of a large multiple vehicle fire on August 19th in the area of Lansdowne and Charter Hall," said the notice advising the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society. The notice also stated, "The condition of the fish indicated they had been dead for several days, and the location was along Scott Creek from Eagleridge Drive to Guildford."

"Not all pollutants entering the storm drain are intentional, but they still kill fish," said Rodney Lee of the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society. "Research has indicated that contaminants from roadways (e.g. wiper fluid, automotive fluids, brake dust etc) kill fish.  Individuals may occasionally, deliberately dispose of contaminants like paint, concrete wash water etc into a storm drain which also kill fish.  However, this occurs less frequently as the public has become knowledgeable about acceptable waste disposal practices. It's quite possible that the combination of products used to fight fires (pollutants), low water levels (pollutants stay in the water longer) and high stream temperatures (reduce dissolved oxygen levels in the stream causing stress on fish and reduce their ability to cope with poorer water quality) all contributed to the fish kill."

The public is encouraged to be mindful of storm drains, which are meant for rainwater, and not for refuse disposal.   Individuals observing a fish kill in our streams or the presence of any other possible pollutants are encouraged to immediately report the event to the Fisheries & Oceans Canada "Observe, Record, Report" (ORR) 1-800-465-4336 [Call: 1-800-465-4336] or in Greater Vancouver: 604-607-4186 [Call: 604-607-4186]   http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/points/ORR-ONS-eng.html

HSWS volunteers walk Hoy Creek in annual cleanup

Ryan, Kyle, Nathen, and Chris with the trash hauled from Hoy Creek

Ryan, Kyle, Nathen, and Chris with the trash hauled from Hoy Creek

Every summer, usually in August, the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society cleans a section of either Hoy Creek and/or Scott Creek. It's the safest time of year to walk in stream without disturbing fish and eggs.

On August 10th we spent 4 hours walking along Hoy Creek clearing out garbage, starting downstream from Pinewood Street and ending just south of Guildford Way. This area was cleared two years ago, so trash was not as heavy, but a good haul was removed, as you can see from our photo.

The 'creek crawl' as we like to call it, can be hard going in places as sometimes we crouch to move under bridges, or climb over fallen trees. It's a good time for us to assess (and clear) heavy invasive species areas blocking the stream, and check for any wind fall blockages which could restrain the returning salmon from making their way upstream in the fall.

Thanks to Chris, Ryan, Kyle, Nathen, and Robbin for a job well done!

See more photos on our Facebook album.

Hoy-Scott Watershed volunteers clean trash in Hoy Creek during the summer

Hoy-Scott Watershed volunteers clean trash in Hoy Creek during the summer

Over 6000 coho fry marked at Hoy Creek Hatchery

A HSWS volunteer carefully clips the adipose fin of a sedated coho fry

A HSWS volunteer carefully clips the adipose fin of a sedated coho fry

On June 21st, 2016 the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society conducted another successful fin-clipping exercise with over 6000 young coho salmon which had been thriving in the Capilano trough room of the hatchery located on Hoy Creek since approximately December 2015.

"This was our third year of doing the fin clip exercise to identify our fish as 'hatchery' salmon," said hatchery manager, Rodney Lee. The fish are first sedated, and then the adipose-fin (small top back fin) is carefully snipped off. The entire operation is overseen by the Department of Fisheries.

"We clipped over 6000 fry in two hours thanks to our volunteers," said Rodney. "The fish recover quickly and will be moved to our rearing pond in a few days, where they will live until their release next May. They will then head out to the ocean, and when they return, this is our way of identifying them."

Volunteers work diligently,  and quickly clipping and counting coho fry

Volunteers work diligently,  and quickly clipping and counting coho fry

Under the supervision of the Department of Fisheries, Hoy Creek Hatchery held another successful fin-clip exercise of over 6000 coho on June 21st.

Under the supervision of the Department of Fisheries, Hoy Creek Hatchery held another successful fin-clip exercise of over 6000 coho on June 21st.

Hoy-Scott Watershed Society releases surplus salmon fry

A Hoy-Scott Watershed Society volunteer releases surplus coho fry into upper Scott Creek (Photo: Ed Paulino / HSWS)

A Hoy-Scott Watershed Society volunteer releases surplus coho fry into upper Scott Creek (Photo: Ed Paulino / HSWS)

In May 2016, we had approximately 19,000 coho fry at Hoy Creek Hatchery.  Hoy-Scott Watershed Society's annual aquaculture license with federal fisheries allows us to incubate up to 25,000 eggs but only release 5,000 1-year-old Coho smolts from that brood year in May.  

Any excess are released to the Upper Hoy and Scott Creeks to areas of the stream where wild fry are not present. In addition, fry are released to Pinnacle Pond. From those locations, the Coho fry can make use of the habitat, grow and eventually make their way out to the ocean to complete their lifecycle.

On May 23rd, HSWS volunteers (Rodney, Chris F, Alex, Dulce & Ed) weighed and counted out our surplus and loaded up the truck for transport and released them at 5 different locations.  The fry weighed approximately 1.3 grams and were about 5 months old.

Hatchery manager, Rodney Lee looks over his son releasing surplus salmon into the creek on May 23rd in Coquitlam.  (Photo: Ed Paulino / HSWS)

Hatchery manager, Rodney Lee looks over his son releasing surplus salmon into the creek on May 23rd in Coquitlam.  (Photo: Ed Paulino / HSWS)

While at these release sites, we observed some larger trout with the smallest being 4-5" and the largest 6-7" but no small fry were present. We also saw a black bear.

The locations we released the surplus coho fry to on Monday, May 23rd were:

Upper Hoy - Camelback Ct off of Plateau; Upper Scott - Panorama by Bramblewood; Upper Hoy - by Plateau Village at Johnson and Plateau; Upper Scott - Hydro pond at the top of Eagle Mountain Drive; and Pinnacle Pond.

Dulce releases surplus salmon into Scott Creek(Photo: Ed Paulino)

Dulce releases surplus salmon into Scott Creek(Photo: Ed Paulino)

Once our remaining fry grow to 2 -3 grams they will be ready for marking, and will have their adipose fins clipped to identify them as hatchery fish. Our hatchery fry continue to be hand fed twice per day.

See MORE PHOTOS from the release on our Facebook album.

This healthy looking black bear was spotted by our team beside Pinnacle Pond, Coquitlam (Photo: Ed Paulino / HSWS)

This healthy looking black bear was spotted by our team beside Pinnacle Pond, Coquitlam (Photo: Ed Paulino / HSWS)