SEHAB Member: Dianne Ramage
Area: Lower Fraser North Side
Community Advisor: Maurice Coulter-Boisvert
Date: November 2011
SEHAB Work Plan 2010-2011
Local Issue, Specific Examples
Actions by Community or DFO
Wild Salmon Policy
On 2011-12 work plan
Moved to WSP for 2011-12 work plan
Anmore City is meeting with volunteers, using their bylaws, progress is being made after many years
Reports to ORR line
Reports to DFO CAs and Habitat regulatory staff
Moved to WSP for 2011-12 work plan
Continue to follow up with C& P on grtting copy of report on ORR Line Review and Habitat Compliance Program
Contact DFO to get ORR stats, make sure they are capturing data on reported concerns
SEHAB meeting action items for Dianne:
Get list of upcoming projects from RRU Team and Regulatory side
Ask if SEP now only to provide insurance against catastrophic event or is it to increase abundance of stocks of concern under WSP
Area Roundtable, organize
RRU, Regulatory, CA, groups and the province – annually in same room at same time, understand and fill in each other’s work plans
SEHAB Submissions from Community, Comments from Groups
DFO Community Advisor Update
My project area highlights include:
- Sad loss of Bert Richardson from Byrne creek and Jim Jose from Alouette Corrections
- Permission granted for CA's to hold Aquaculture Licenses for their projects. So far so good!
- Pink were observed at Hoy, Hyde, Brunette, Coquitlam, Alouette, Kanaka, Silverdale & Whonnock
- Whonnock Creek’s new fishway working well
- Brunetter River- Cariboo Dam’s new fishway is a thing of beauty and required scrambling to allow the capture of migrating fish through the fishway opening. The modifications have been successful and Mr. Elmer Rudolph has passed over 30 Coho already this year
- District of Maple Ridge completed habitat improvements at Spencer Creek and Whonnock Lake Outlet
- The Bell-Irving Hatchery at Kanaka will be demolished this coming spring and rebuilt next year
- Joan Carne still mining but Stream of Dreams prevails
- The perched pond off the Brunette was accomplished this fall via the Gateway Compensation process
- The Wilson Farm habitat project at Colony farms is nearly complete and will provide state of the art adult fish passage and safe exit, not to mention lots of meters of previously inaccessible habitat
- A new intake for an old habitat off channel project was constructed at 232 at the Alouette R. this summer
- Compensation Habitat work at Maple Creek x 2
- Dave Nanson the new Lower Fraser restoration Biologist
- Mike Landiak Senior Resource Restoration Engineer for Lower Fraser
- Matt Foy the new manager of Restoration and for the CA's in the Lower Fraser Area
- Cliff Kelsey new Pres. of Hyde CWS
- Sandy Budd new Pres of Maple CWSS
- Nearly 2 million eggs were recently collected by Chehalis staff and local area volunteers at Weaver Creek. The resulting fry will be used to continue rebuilding of extirpated Lower Fraser Area Streams
- Now CA's are part of Ecosystem Management Branch
- Grant from PSF for POCO hatchery allowed installation of a new back-up power facility
- 6 Sockeye returned to Coquitlam this year (3 morts)
- 12 Sockeye returned to Alouette this year (worst return for many years) ?
- Harrison Sockeye doing well
- Coquitlam Watershed Initiative still in progress with WEB based watershed tour project current focus. On Nov 5 a big public Roundtable meeting will be held
- PSF and Musqueam Initiative working on Habitat Banking?
Stoney Creek Environment Committee
We talked about this briefly at our meeting tonight.
1. Our primary concern for wild salmon is the incidence of European ISA virus. Since DFO has a duty to protect wild salmon stocks, they must deal with this outbreak quickly.
2. Our second concern is the reduction in DFO funding and staff at a time when more not less enforcement is required.
3. Our Pink run seems very small this year.
Hope you can get some movement on these issues.
DeBoville Slough and Hyde Creek Watershed Society
For your information, I would like to mention a few things that might be of interest to you that I have seen lately. First of all, I believe I did spot a spawning pair of Pinks in Hoy Creek a week ago. I don't know if that is such a big deal but I have attached are some images I took. As well I do have some short video as well.
I have been told that at least one Pink has been spotted at Hyde Creek so far.
For the first time, I have seen the spawning channels work well enough for an increase in numbers of spawning Salmon at the North Coquitlam River Park. I wonder who are stewards of the area because it is too open to abuse.
Finally, I am furious that the silt problem on the Coquitlam River has not been dealt with to any worthwhile extent. Above the gravel operations, the water was crystal clear but below those operations the water was pervasive and too murky. No doubt the fine silt clogged the gills of the returning Salmon. The gravel operations are not dealing effectively with this issue so something has to be done. Perhaps the First Nations can have an impact. This issue should be the top of any action list for rivers.
Alouette River Management Society
Here are the top 4 issues for the Alouette Watershed:
- 1.Abbotsford’s proposal for using Stave Lake as a water source
This is quite a concern for the Alouette Watershed as over 90% of Alouette Lake water is diverted to Stave Lake through a tunnel. There have been questions posed to the City of Abbotsford, BC Hydro and Fraser Health about the fertilization of Alouette Lake (for the next 60 years), the management of water during dry spells (in 2002 there wasn’t enough water to manage Stave and Alouette fisheries needs), public perception, and the potential for a fish ladder on Alouette but there have not been adequate responses. We need to have a clear idea from all parties, including DFO, on where Alouette stands in this proposal. So far, Maple Ridge, ARMS, and the Alouette Monitoring Committee have not been approached.
- 2.Underfunding of community hatcheries
The Allco Fish Hatchery funding has been stagnant at $25,000 from DFO for 12-15 years. Last year it was been lowered by $1500 because the paperwork is easier for funding under $25,000. Much more costs are absorbed by BC Corrections, which are truly not accounted for. With Allco raising fish for other hatcheries, and possibly more in the future, and increasing costs, extra costs are put on the jail. We also worry about other smaller hatcheries having to close because of underfunding.
- 3.The increase of chinook sports fishery
Up to this year, the sport fishery of Chinook on Alouette was 1 per season. This year is was increased to 1 per day. The riverbanks have been full of fishermen catching a chinook per day (and reports of more). We understand the need to balance recreational and conservation needs, but ARMS worries that this dramatic increase may put too much stress on a population that is trying to establish themselves. With the success of the chum, and now a fishery for chum (1 per day) and the allowed coho catch (1 hatchery per day), ARMS believes a 1 per day for chinook may be too much. We have been told that there will be clipping of hatchery chinook next year, which has not been done on the river before. Is it a possibility to limit chinook catch until hatchery fish are recognizable?
- 4.Fish ladder on the Alouette
Although this issue is always on the books for us, we do see a great value in a fish ladder for the Alouette. There is potentially great spawning grounds for chinook in Gold Creek (larger rocks not suitable for smaller fish), which could boost the population which is supplemented greatly each year. It would reduce the stress of the sockeye run in the middle of the summer when we have to trap and truck them above the dam.
ARMS has made the case to our MP Randy Kamp, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, numerous times that the dam is an obstruction contrary to the Fisheries Act of Canada. DFO has taken the stance that because the dam was built before the Fisheries Act came in, it has been grandfathered in, but ARMS does not agree. Upgrades were done to the dam in 1984, after the Fisheries Act came into effect and therefore should be held up to its standards.
Successes continue to include the sockeye return (although, it was not stellar this year with only 11 returning), our partnerships (e.g. BC Corrections and their support of our programs, Rivers Day, our centre; DFO and their work on increasing/improving fish habitat in the Alouette River), and the recording of pink salmon on the North Alouette River with our salmon surveys (the river, to my knowledge, has never been stocked with pink).
That’s all I have! I hope this helps, Dianne. Please let me know if you need anything else.
See you soon at Hyde Creek,
Maple Creek Watershed Streamkeepers Society
Action: problems with reporting occurrences to DFO using 666 - 3500 number
1. response time (can take days and by then then problem may have been corrected)
2. answering of said number (usually said person in not interested or misunderstands)
1. Improve communication between the level of government
2. Could the volunteer groups be told when work is to be done
Action: Habitat loss
Action: Attracting new volunteers
Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society
I would say that from the Byrne Creek POV, Enforcement and Habitat would be of most concern to our group.
Of course enforcement because we've had four fish kills in five years, and while in one of those the culprit was caught red-handed, EC refused to pursue the case. The City of Burnaby ended up filing an access to information request against EC, and even then, the released documents were inconclusive as to why EC would not follow up.
And Habitat because the key issue for urban creeks is habitat preservation and enhancement. And that leads to water quantity and quality -- rising ratios of impervious surfaces lead to greater quantity that leads to flashier creeks and erosion, and the lack of infiltration sends pollutants directly into local waterways.
Under habitat we have a bit of good news with a developer consolidating some lots in the upper watershed, and daylighting about 50 meters of the creek as part of the process, along with providing a biofiltration pond.
Under habitat we have negative news in that the ISMP process for the Byrne Creek watershed has been dragging on for years. Since it began, the provincial guidelines have changed to be much more proactive on source controls, which our group feels do not receive enough emphasis in the last draft that we were given access to (after making it known that we were not happy about being shut out of the process for years following a few initial stakeholder meetings).
We are starting to wonder if perhaps the City now feels trapped -- the provincial targets have changed, and if the Byrne Creek ISMP is released without substantial changes to reflect more current stormwater best management practices, it may be a bit of an embarrassment. This is speculation on our part, and I hasten to add that there are good people working on this in the City, and that we suspect they do not have the resources required to move forward on ISMPs in an expeditious manner.
On the positive side, I forwarded some info to contacts in the City of Burnaby from the recent Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference on rain garden programs in Delta, around Puget Sound, and in Kitsap County, and got a favourable response, and requests for more info so the City could learn more about such programs.
The other habitat-related issue that was reinforced by a presentation at the Salish Sea conf was road wash, particularly the presence of copper from brakes that can quickly have deleterious effects on salmonids in minute concentrations. We have noted coho pre-spawn mortality in Byrne Creeek, as well as "first flush" kills of released hatchery coho smolts, and there is a good possibility this is related to toxins in road wash.
I am also aware that the Stoney Creek group in north Burnaby has been doing water-quality studies and has found copper concentrations in some tribs that are way above recommended limits.
As noted, an emphasis in urban planning and ISMPs on source controls such as rain gardens, swales, biofiltration ponds, and street-edge alternatives to ameliorate flows and provide infiltration and filtering of pollutants is high on our list, and we hope the municipality can get moving on this soon to protect what habitat we have left.
Paul for Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society
Coquitlam Watershed Observer and Steward
- 1.DFO capacity: Do new people and people new to positions truly understand that SEP public partners care deeply about Pacific salmon in the wild? Do they understand that we care about the implementation of the WSP, which we feel we helped author. Do they understand that we care about the Salmon Enhancement Program that enables the public to be actively engaged in partnership with the government to ensure their abundance, genetic diversity and persistence throughout their historic habitat.
- 2.Systemic Deliberate Enfeeblement, Habitat: Example: OTTAWA — The Canadian Coast Guard has recorded 53 oil tanker spills that required a cleanup on the country's shorelines over the past 10 years, the federal government has revealed in a document tabled in Parliament.
In total, the government reported 169 "pollution incidents" in Canadian waters involving oil tankers since 2001. But it said that in the "vast majority of cases," there were no pollutants found in the water.
"In 53 incidents, it was determined that some cleanup or threat mitigation operations were necessary," said the document, signed by federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield. "For 51, of these incidents, the polluter assumed management of the response and the coast guard monitored the polluter's response in the capacity of federal monitoring officer."
In the other two cases, the coast guard either conducted the cleanup operations or was listed as a "resource agency" that provided "advice and guidance" to the polluter, according to the information, provided in response to questions from Liberal MP Joyce Murray.
"In the majority of the 53 level three incidents, response operations took anywhere from one to several days to complete, depending on the nature of the incident and various factors involved," said Ashfield in the document.
The longest cleanup took two months to complete, following the King Darwin tanker spill of 723,000 litres of oil at Dalhousie, N.B., on Sept. 27, 2008 during a transfer to a NB Power generating station. Ashfield also said that it was not possible "to discern the total costs" for government in response to spills, in terms of staffing time for investigations or monitoring pollution response activities, along with vehicle use, fuel and deployment of coast guard equipment.
But polluters are "ultimately responsible for all reasonable costs" associated with cleaning up from incidents and their related damage under the Marine Liability Act, Ashfield said in the document, noting two cases in which the polluters were held liable for 100 per cent of recorded costs — the King Darwin spill as well as another spill of 4,000 litres of crude oil at the Hibernia Loading Point involving Vinland, an energy company.
Murray, a former British Columbia environment minister who now represents a federal riding in Vancouver, said she raised the questions in response to warnings from the auditor general's office last December that suggested the coast guard and other federal departments and agencies were ill-equipped to respond to spills.
"We know there are spills, we know we don't have capacity to clean them up federally and to me that was just another argument (about) the risk of tanker traffic around the Queen Charlotte (or) Haida Gwaii islands (of B.C.)," said Murray. "What's really inappropriate is that the government has taken a decision on one competitor's pipeline project, which is the Enbridge pipeline to Kitimat (on the B.C. coast) and said that they are supporting that pipeline while it is still under review. So I'm going to keep working to stop tanker traffic around (Haida Gwaii)."
She added that separate research released by the Library of Parliament revealed higher incidents of spills and suggested that the government considered a 15 per cent cleanup of a spill site was sufficient in response to an accident.
The various federal government stakeholders all agreed in December to review their emergency planning response to incidents.
Frank Stanek, a spokesman for Fisheries and Oceans, said that despite the number of cases reported in Ashfield's response, there were no "major" spills. The majority of cases involved "minor operational oil spills" from vessels refuelling or during oil loading or unloading operations, and when vessels ran aground, he said.
The "level three" category could also include an accident involving a recreational boat spilling diesel fuel at a marina and requiring a cleanup as a result, he added.
- 3.Read the Auditor General Reports
- 4.Great News - SEP is the biggest success DFO, and maybe the entire federal government, has. Annually, it brings millions of dollars of public good will, intentions and efforts to a true partnership with government to achieve a common vision, in trust for the people and ecosystems of Canada.
Salmon in the wild are coming back. Careful conservation of their genetic diversity in small, well run hatcheries will have contributed to their resilience and long term survival thus helping them to rebuild their abundance and repopulate historic habitats.
Hoy/Scott Creek Watershed Society
A few thoughts from what I've seen with Hoy Creek - not sure if they all necessarily fit within your SEHAB report.
- Invasive plants and habitat restoration: We've been working hard with the City of Coquitlam as well as volunteer groups from the local schools (Pinetree, Glen Eagle) to attempt to systematically address the invasive plant issues in our watershed and restore with native plant species and build cover for the riparian areas.
- Urban development impacting water flows possibly sediment in the streams - during heavy rain events, the water rises in a few hours and then gets over a similar period. It also stays low such as during the sunny clear consecutive days we have had this past week. Not as much fish movement in the stream during these times. There's also a bunch of sediment flowing through and it's not clear if it's development related higher in the watershed or not.
- Volunteer engagement and getting broader participation through the school environment and leadership groups. Getting more involvement to help diversify our volunteer base.
- Habitat restoration - work as described above under 'issues'
- We've seen pink (sighted at least 6), chum, coho and even some chinook in Hoy creek this year. This is the first time in my 4 years that I've seen pinks.
- we've had 2 chinook females and 2 chinook jacks show up at our fish trap the last 2 weeks (I've seen 1 other in the creek in the past 4 yrs but none trapped).
- I'd guess the chum return is avg right now.
- Coho: we've had 2 thus far in the last week of Oct but we didn't have any start showing up at our trap until Nov 6 last yr so more's expected.
Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society/Mossom Creek Hatchery
I’m happy to report the best chum run in the past probably 15 years on Mossom Creek in Port Moody. We are also beginning to see coho spawners –earlier and more visible than in previous years. Bears have been especially active in removing pre-spawner bucks from the creek at the estuary and eating only their brains. We saw 18 carcasses on one day.
It’s also good news that we are beginning to get somewhere with our issues in Anmore. Mossom representatives have met with Anmore Council and with Anmore’s environmental committee and we have had a joint site visit to the large Pinnacle Ridge development on East Road. Anmore now retains an environmental consultant, Tim Poulton, who is giving builders notice of coming rain events (25 mm or more) and advising them to button up their sites.
Several fines of $1,000 have been laid by the Village when warnings have not been heeded. There have also been stop work orders issued. Anmore’s environmental by-law regarding siltation is being enforced at least some of the time.
Anmore is developing a protocol where they will call Mossom Creek Hatchery if they are aware of any problem (siltation) upstream. They still need to build in the step where they take the responsibility to contact PEP and DFO. Anmore staffers have, in one recent case, put hay bales into the ditches to stop siltation from reaching the creek. In the past, they would have just issued a stop work order but would not have acted to remediate the unfolding problem.
There are two short courses on siltation control and step slope development in November. Anmore has been urged to send a representative to each of these and has been receptive to the idea.
Siltation of Mossom by development in Anmore has not ceased but it has lessened.
A representative from Parklane Developments visited Mossom Creek Hatchery on Sunday morning to explain the many changes they have made to their plan for the last phase of development on Heritage Mountain. The changes are the sorts of things that we would encourage Anmore to demand for future steep slope development in the Mossom watershed. After a series of meetings with three environmental groups in Port Moody (Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society, Port Moody Ecological Society and Burke Mountain Naturalists), Parklane made significant pro-environment changes to their proposal.
Pervious surfaces will be increased, infiltration ditches for each property will allow rainwater to percolate through the soil back to West Noons Creek, the footprint of the development has been reduced, part of each property will be retained in natural vegetation, and native vegetation will be planted.
Hyde Creek Watershed
# 1 Enforcement. On a recent sport fishing adventure on the Stave River I witnessed many people retaining and taking home Chum Salmon. Rumour has it that there is no retention of Chum if this is true DFO MUST post better regulations at popular sport fishing areas such as the Stave in both English and Asian. Most if not all Chum taken were people of foreign decent that may not have know better. If DFO has no persons able to do this I think local sport fishing and Stream Keeping groups would have no problem posting official regulations for them at popular fishing areas.
From what I have seen on local urban rivers and streams there seems to be a boom on Chum Salmon returns this year.
# 2 Stream side setbacks for new construction. There seems to be a free for all now in building construction around fish bearing streams. Enforcement is left up to the builder in some cases to make sure they leave enough room by streams and rivers. Construction run off (silt) seems to be a big problem as well. Streamkeepers unfortunately have to spend a lot of valuable time tracking down silt problems and reporting them. Many times it’s the same culprits and nothing is done. A prime example is on the Coquitlam River. Usually listed on the top 10 most polluted rivers in BC.
Hope this helps
North Arm of the Fraser River Conservation
Fraser River Juvenile Salmon Habitat successes and concerns:
Issue #1 The huge historic industrial caused losses of J. S. H. in the mid reaches of the North Arm in Vancouver west of Boundary Road "East Fraser Lands Development” is still a tidal juvenile salmon habitat wasteland!
The promised habitat restoration by the developer and has so far not even begun along the N. A. riverfront area from Kerr Road to Boundary Road ! The mid river reaches of the North arm are habitat critical for spring migrating Fraser River Smolts and Salmon Fry and the area presently has a historic loss of over 90% of juvenile salmon habitat ! " Action" That the Department of Fisheries and Oceans request that the City of Vancouver and all the landowners within in the area known as East Fraser Lands move ahead in 2012 to restore the promised Juvenile Salmon and Oolichan habitat in the North Arm riverfront area.
Issue No 2 The replacement Juvenile salmon Habitat, on the west end of Mitchell Island ' replacement habitat restoration for Skytrain" Canada Line" construction to Airport Y V.R. and Richmond ! This critical habitat requires yearly monitoring and maintainance repairs as noted in the agreement by D. F. O. and the Skytrain authority. The replacement habitat is now in serious need of repairs and a public released review of how successful the replacement habitat has been over the years after it was constructed, this must take place before the habitat restoration contract with the Skytrain authority expires ! Terry Slack
A Good news salmon Habitat story from the North Arm of the Fraser River !
As many of the mills and other Heavy Industry have moved from the riverfront of the North and Middle Arms over the past 10 to 15 years, natural regeneration of Marsh salmon habitats are showing remarkable regrowth in numerous locations in the river ! Back water blind ended Slough that were once booming grounds and even some Rip rapped banks are slowly being silted up with spring freshet muds and regenerating naturally, into much needed Migrating Juvenile Salmon feeding and protective habitats ! The North Arm is slowly healing itself after over 100 years of Heavy Industrial use and that is great news for recreating people and also Migrating Wild Juvenile Salmon ! Terry Slack P. S. Hope these N.A. river notes help ?
Just up river from Byrne Road on the Richmond side of the river, is a pipe that discharges the cranberry fields flooded river water back to the North Arm of the Fraser River, after the harvest has ended! Even to the East of Byrne Road Creek, in the old peat fields of Burnaby’s Big Bend the same thing happens there, if the cranberry fields are flooded ! Many of the Cranberry fields in the Lower Mainland spray numerous chemicals on the crops during the growing season, to protect the berries from pests etc. ,
there is an exception, that is the Organically grown and tested Cranberries.
Agricultural Canada regulates numerous different chemical sprays to be used on Cranberry Crops and when the fields are flooded and the water returned back to the North Arm of the Fraser River for example, high lingering residues of the chemicals from the fields are sometimes found in the discharge flooded field water !
"Questions that come to mind "
Who is responsible for testing the flooded field water that is returned back to the river ? Who is responsible for testing the overall river water quality before and after the Cranberry Field water is being discharged. As far as I understand no body !
We do know a little Water Quality testing from past Fisheries work near the Byrne Creek estuary did take place, at the same time of the water returns to the river from the East Richmond Cranberry fields and the results were a few days of high spiking of chemicals in the North Arm river water !
All this should have indicated to F. R. E. M. P. and D. F. O. that extensive river water testing is needed during the harvesting time for Christmas Cranberries !