SEHAB Member:  Elizabeth Hardy

Area:  West Vancouver- Howe Sound

Community Advisor:  Rob Bell-Irving

Date:  November 2015

Key Issues:

What top three points can you distill from community input to take to DFO RHQ?

1.  The foreshore is becoming increasingly important to volunteer groups.  Four groups have done foreshore and/or estuary projects.

2.  PIP, RFCPP and PSF funding was mentioned several times in a positive light as appreciation that the programs exist.  Stable and predictable funding is very important.  A few groups mentioned an increase in PIP would be nice to cover increasing costs.

3.  Habitat loss is a concern, in the continuing loss of wetlands for recreation, and beach manipulations impacting forage fish spawning areas


A few examples of successes, failures, challenges.

A few expressions of disappointment that the new Fisheries Minister is not from the west coast.  For example: 

I had hoped to hear good things coming from this ceremony but am very disappointed. Certainly the Liberals have accomplished diversity and equality in their cabinet but after 2 hrs of “swearing” the last minister appointed seems to have Fisheries tacked on to his responsibility for the North. I have nothing against Mr. Too Too from Inuvik but I’m not sure he could differentiate a sockeye from a coho .. or that he has ever heard of the Cohen Commission.

I was hoping to be inspired by a minister who had some interest in the Pacific Region and who would be motivated to pursue some return for taxpayers from the excellent work done by Justice Cohen. We have a newly elected Liberal MP from West Vancouver/Sunshine Coast who could do that.

I’m no longer hopeful that all of the work done by the many stewards of Pacific Salmon and my own small volunteer contribution will make any difference.

Issues Specific to SEHAB’s Work Plan:


SEHAB Work Plan

Local Issue, Specific  Examples

Actions by Community or DFO

SEHAB Opportunity

Wild Salmon Policy (Stock Assessment, Habitat)

Foreshore projects becoming common, for example Rodgers Creek estuary enhancement in West Vancouver, Explosives Creek foreshore rehabilitation on Bowen Island, subtidal habitat rock reef complex in West Vancouver.

Solid pink run in West Vancouver.  Not many coho or chum so far.







Capacity & Core Funding

Expressions of appreciation for funding for projects.  Stable and predictable funding is important to groups.



 Submissions, Comments from Groups:


Elizabeth, the attachment describes a project the WVSPS has approval for and funding to proceed. Plan is to commence sometime after Nov 11th.      We had nice assistance from the DFO  Recreational Fishing Partnership Program people.      PIP is a bit confusing for us as our excellent Treasurer, Jack Wood, died last year and we are trying to learn the ropes so to speak, but we understand the PIP people will provide the Application Form and some guidance in proceeding with it. It has been a very helpful program although with the cost increases experienced the small amount of the grant needs to be increased.  Our Community Advisor, Rob Bell-Irving, is very helpful.                

Relations:  Province has not been helpful nor a hindrance although the local MLA, Ralph Sultan, has been very supportive. The provincial government just ignores anything to do with “wealthy West Vancouver” in my opinion.       

Science Branch could help us by requesting Canadian Hydrographic Services to survey the shoreline from the Lions Gate Bridge to the west and providing us and West Van with the data.  Also Science Branch, assuming the West Van Lab is under them, could help us.                   

The New Fisheries Act seems to be beneficial in that we don’t need to jump through a lot of irrelevant hoops to get approval to do in-the-water work, we just need to show it isn’t damaging or will be beneficial.         Moving rocks and putting them in the water is not something volunteers can do so DFO’s insistence on large participation from volunteers does not work very well for us.    One silly thing the DFO does is insist on using legal size pages/paper for Agreements, etc. Difficult and unreasonable for volunteers so they should go to regular 8 x 11 pages.     

Thanx for all the work you do to help us along.    Ray R     

Bowen Island Fish and Wildlife Club

Foreshore rehabilitation at Explosives Creek Tunstall Bay.  We recently completed a projected that received funding from PSF and a very significant volunteer effort. Explosives Creek enters Howe Sound in a large bay open to the SW.  There are strong winds and high tides each fall & winter. This combined with heavy public usage and a sailing club which stores & launches boats at this location had caused foreshore erosion. A joint effort with the Municipality, the local Community, and our group has finished restoration work, fencing, and upgrade of the lower 100 m of Creek. The project required many hours of planning with the Community & Municipality but has paid off with good working relationships with all involved. DFO and PSF assistance were fundamental in the success of this project. We are awaiting chum & coho to enter the Creek any day now.

In Spring 2015 we conducted hands on education of 7 volunteers on the Best Management Practices documented in the SEP BMP Manual. The daily operations at our Terminal Creek Hatchery will operate more smoothly and with enhanced biosecurity in future. We found the reporting requirements to be onerous and very time taking and summarized these into several “short form” formats.

A new and significant effort was made to upgrade our website and develop a much closer working relationship with our Municipal Council and staff. This is paying off with much improved joint working relationship and sharing of labour time & costs on our habitat projects.

A joint meeting with West Vancouver Streamkeepers has helped us re-organize our group and some of our streamkeeping  procedures.

West Vancouver Streamkeepers Society

Spawning Salmon:  A good return of pink salmon.  There were a few chinook in with the pinks in the largest creek, a tributary of the Capilano River.  Currently this creek has some chum and coho, but returns are slow.  Chum or coho have been seen in two other creeks.  The feeling is that it is a strange year - the returns are slow in coming, but hopefully will build as November progresses.  Thirty streamkeeper volunteers are doing spawner surveys, as well as teams of high school students.

Storm Drain Marking:  This program is going strong with over 2000 storm drains painted by elementary school students in 27 events.  Four groups of Scouts will be added next spring.

WVS continues to have strong contact with all levels of government.  MLA will be doing a spawner survey with WVS next week, and the new MP has requested a meeting.

Three main projects have been completed.  Rodgers Creek had foreshore improvements and as the work was being done, the pink salmon were trying to access the creek- the first time pinks had been seen in this creek.  A fish friendly culvert was placed on Hadden Creek, removing an undersized perched culvert which was a barrier to spawning salmon.  A pond was constructed to raise the water at the mouth of a culvert on McDonald Creek to improve access.  Streamkeepers are monitoring this project to see if it worked and what improvements can be made. 

The Cohen Commision will be a topic when WVS meet with the new MP.

***WVS would like to see RFCPP continue.  Volunteers appreciate predictable and stable funding.  Costs are increasing.

North Shore Wetland Partners

We are doing a lot of work in Lower Mackay Creek Estuary and Wetlands this year, supported in part, directly or indirectly by DFO, as a result we are working more with Sandy Hollick-Kenyon in NVD. We love the support of the Public Involvement Program and our community advisers who have helped us through some very rough times we can't say enough good about how great they're contributions are to our communities it feels like we survived a dark part of our history. The financial contribution from the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program is supporting the work as is the seed funding we received through PIP program to support our group. It is great to see a program generating funds to put back in the resource like fishing licences. It would be great if a similar set up applied to all recreational activities that affect salmon habitat including headwaters estuaries & wetlands. 

The problems in Cypress creek headwaters do not change. Wetlands are still being filled in and limited water retention is a problem in high water rain events & drought. Mountain biking and trail running are growing sports that impact trails, hydrology, invasive species  Parks have limited resources for maintenance  volunteer work alone cannot bring these areas back to manageable by themselves. We need watershed planning as we continue to fragment away all the habitat in knee jerk reactions putting out fires as they happen sucks.

Forage Fish concerns need to be raised DFO has guidelines for this kind of work that can interrupt sediment flows that forage fish need for beech spawning. Forage fish need increased protection, education with enforcement looking at the way spawning  beeches here are groomed for sun tanners with heavy equipment annually, off leash dog walking & a host of recreational activities below the high tide line on spawning beeches We need to work together 
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Herbicide use is an ongoing concern as more riparian areas are left to fill with invasive species creating  the cost effective way to deal with this is herbicides. Looking at how long & poorly organised current giant hog weed Jap Knott weed programs are in our different communities  approvals for a water herbicide for Spartina is an example of expanding reliance on the permit use of herbicides to deal with lack of education to quickly react. Who's scientists will be monitoring those areas closely for any negative impacts on fish, birds, pollinators, amphibians, reptiles etc as none do currently. 

Changing climate has brought about flood plain & fire interface planning we will need to protect our streams for salmon & call for watershed planning.  Hope that helps