Roundtable-North Fraser Valley/Maple Ridge-Feb 2006
Roundtable submission, Oct. 15 / 2005 -SEHAB- Dave Smith, North Fraser Valley area
Hi; we in the Kanaka Creek, Maple Ridge area have had a busy year again, we continue to see massive development in the area, and have noticed an increase in sediment, siltation in all 3 watersheds. The Alouette systems and the Kanaka Creek have begun to document all high volume, dirty water, silty muddy water events in both watersheds and have begun to send the pictures and related info to City Council, senior staff, Provincial and Federal Ministries our MLA’s and MP and to the newspapers and TV stations and we have noticed an increase in negative press for the District and the individual developers. KEEPS will have attended 14 public events and community celebrations by the end of 2005. We once again (thanks to John Heaven, our Bell – Irving Hatchery Manager) have 23 plus elementary schools involved in Salmonids in the Classroom program. I am especially proud to report on our Catching Kanaka Spirit Youth Program, over the past 5 months Kanaka Youth (this is their second year in Kanaka) well, they have been actively helping our watershed with our ongoing Invasive Species inventory and removal in 3 sites, the day lighting of approx 123 ft of Mainstone Creek – it was covered over on private property back in the late forties, so now we have 123 feet of creek bed back and the new property owner and family are ecstatic about having a creek in their back yard – the kids go to local elementary school where KEEPS has Watershed Roadshow, Fish, invertebrates and aquatic species, Water Quality testing / monitoring Kanaka Creek sites; so the kids are all pumped up that Salmon will come up their creek; our education coordinator Ross Davies has worked with over 7300 kids and young people over the past 14 months. A great success story and a wonderful feeling of connection for all involved. Our Catching Kanaka Spirit Youth also spent time in the Blue Mountain Woodlot with owners and Foresters (who are KEEPS partners and one is a Director with KEEPS) and the BCIT Woodlot classifying trails, routing and clearing recreational through trails and access, monitoring and sampling creek water. As I said our Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows area have been very active, our 3 Watersheds, each held a Rivers Day event with KEEPS and Kanaka celebrating World Rivers Day as well, ARMS Rivers Day celebrating 10 years, the 4
Annual Kanaka Connection with KEEPS and Whonnock Lake Days. We participated in the longest public hearing process in the history of Maple Ridge, 6 evenings of public presentations for the review and comment on proposed changes to the Official Community Plan, main issues concerned rapid development, urban sprawl, dealing in such a helter – skelter fashion, storm water management, groundwater, area aquifers and wells, ALR farm land, lack of vision and commitment to downtown core, policing, enforcement and other topics. I am happy to say we in Maple Ridge are continuing to GPS map and inventory Wildlife species, populations, habitat areas, as well as continuing to identify ESA’s in every section of the District and continue the baseline data collection, locations and prescriptions for invasive species and ultimate removal. The addition of Codd Island and Blaney Bog as GVRD Regional Parks has greatly improved the natural wild beauty of the area and allow both Codd Island and Blaney Bog to provide habitat to millions of birds, mammals and small wildlife that live and travel in the Pacific Flyway Path for the future. A 130 year old orchard with fruit trees has been recently identified (it was planted on the first European settlers began farming at the mouth of the Kanaka Creek, near the Fraser) and a recovery program will be started late
this year, with KEEPS, GVRD, UBC Landscape Dept., ERA –environ restoration activities working together with local students on a multi year prescription.
KEEPS Board of Directors recently held a weekend visioning and strategic planning session and reaffirmed our intention to help create a new stewardship / hatchery / education / visitors centre at
the present Bell – Irving Hatchery site, the GVRD Board of Directors have endorsed the idea and discussion and funding searches are presently underway. We also reaffirmed our commitment to education, volunteer recruitment, specific group / individual targeting (seniors/gardening, school groups, company / corporate involvement.
There has been a noticeable lack of Fisheries presence along the waterways in the lowermainland, over the past couple of years, little if any enforcement, NO Habitat charges or even follow up on complaints, some investigations have been totally dropped because some many fisheries people have left and no one has the time or personal interest anymore. Very evident is the lack of DFO presence, equally in regards to monitoring development major problem areas, hotspots and ongoing watershed / development issues, in all lowermainland communities (compliance with Provincial and Federal Laws). Although we at KEEPS are increasing possessive and sensitive to the resources and abilities (that seem to be diminishing, like their budgets) of our Community Advisor, we are happy we have Maurice Coulter – Boisvert, he recently brought news of how a Port Coquitlam group has worked for approximately 4 years and have now completed building a new Hatchery for $ 850,000 – all through the volunteers and community of Port Coquitlam, talk about commitment and sustainability.
We have a few events yet this fall, the next is Sex On The Rocks – AKA Return of the Salmon, at our Kanaka Creek Fish Fence on Sun. Oct. 23 / 2005, with Panago Pizza and Tim Horton’s partnering with us to feed our volunteers and helpers. Then we have the GVRD Parks Partnerships Super Saturday of Learning, Sat. Nov 5 with Dr. Quack coming the East Bay Area Parks and Wildlife, 18 years studying and documenting birds, wildlife, managing public lands and working with volunteers, a leader in visitor services, interpretive programs and a host of other great info and know how skills. The Fraser Valley Eagle Festival will also be having an activity at the Bell – Irving Hatchery with KEEPS hosting family fun and activities as well as egg takes and plenty of hands on opportunities on Sat. Nov. 19 / 2005. Our Kanaka Creek Salmon have started to return, we are presently taking Chum with Coho and Pinks still to come. The Bell – Irving Hatchery / KEEPS will take approx 500,000 to 560,000 chum eggs, approx 480,000 to 500,000 coho eggs, and approx 350,000 to 400,000 pinks eggs, the fish fence will operate once again from mid Sept. until mid to late Dec., Kanaka will be having a Coho Jack fishery during the 30 days of Nov. with KEEPS volunteers conducting a creel survey and talking with fishermen on the creek during the fishery, spreading info, educational info, documenting activities in the Kanaka Watershed. The Bell – Irving Hatchery / KEEPS supply 7 other lowermainland watersheds with chum, coho and pink fry annually (although pinks are only every 2 years) this of course is authorized, supported and managed through DFO (one program / resource that still works very efficiently). We will be doing our annual Steelhead Floats
with the Province (Alan Hansen) in approx March/April and then doing steelhead parr density studies in the spring, (we are still committed to a steelhead population in Kanaka). I will end by inviting all SEHAB members and all our BC salmon enhancement volunteers to join us in May of 2009 at the Workshop to be held at (hopefully) our new North Fraser Stewardship/ Education/ Bell – Irving Hatchery/ visitors centre, we will hopefully just be finished creating a new Facility on Kanaka, by KEEPS.