What a spectacular morning!
The North Shore Mountains were heavily sprinkled with snow as I drove down from UniverCity to attend the weekend Spawner Count.
Lovely Blue sky. Coming down University Crescent there was a bit of ice on the road. Once out of the UniverCity Entrance Roundabout the Ring Road was clear of both snow and ice.
We had an admirable turnout of volunteers at the Burnaby Environmental Centre. Alan took Laura, Kaitlin and Anna to the lower reaches. Roger, Christine and I headed upstream from the Great Salmon Send Off Bridge, North of Stoney Creek Elementary School. We counted all the way along SC up to the North Road, including parts of Tributory 3A and 3B
If accessing from the School parking lot, enter the path at the North East corner of the playing field around back of the School. I suggest anyone wanting to glimpse the Coho Spawners to take the upper Stoney Creek paths. The area had many Coho and even a few Steelhead (smaller). They can be spotted quite safely from the path, for example under the Stoney Creek Bridge. Remember don’t go into the creek, or threaten the stability of the banks.
Walking through the streams was less cold than I expected, though I would say “treacherous”. Our waiders, part of SCEC equipment, kept us mostly dry. Once and a while a lovely spinkling of snow toppled upon us from the trees. Probably 4 inches of snow was on the ground. I took the temperature at Nov. 20, 2010, 1:30 pm at the GSSO bridge and was surprised to read 0 degrees air temp. and 4 degrees water temp. The calibration of our thermometres appears to be an issue, however; the temperature variation between air and water was verified by the first group,. Readings in the lower reaches were about 4 degrees warmer, for each reading.
The water was quite quick flowing. We noted the water was very murky in areas of Reach 6. The source was a culvert leading East of the Creek, from the direction of the housing development north of Broadway and West of North Road. Above the culvert divergence the water was once again clear flowing.
The ongoing work to manage the stream and forest (City of Burnaby, SCEC, City of Vancouver, and others) is apparent. We noted recent stacked-wood fence (West side of Reach 5) and natural rehabilitation, including about 3 maples (2.4 m tall) that looked freshly planted on the East bank (est. Reach 5). Other areas of rehabilitation, a few years old, were filling in nicely (6, 4 m high cedar trees, and other plants). Christine explained that the SCEC Invasive Removal Crew had been back a few times since planting to remove invasives, and obviously this had helped to allow the native plants to grow in well.
Humans with their dogs, Coho (live and morts), A pair? of Varied Thrush, a Blue Heron, a Dipper and a small moth-like bug, I guessed to be a large Mayfly. In all it was a very satisfying count.
One area of concern is the number of unspawned morts. Roger took photos of the unspawned morts in order to identify possible disease that may be preventing the Coho from completing their spawning, and in order to share with records from other Streamkeepers who are seeing similar issue.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy!