Frequently Asked Questions
The most freqently asked questions usually have to do with the old mine, its effect on water quality, and what is happening to improve it. Visit "Water Quality" and "Mine Site". Many times we are asked about stocks and how they are doing - visit "Stocks". Why we are spending so much time and energy on seasonal streams is another category where we get a lot of questions, particularly now that we are assessing Smit Forsythe Creek - Visit "Seasonal Streams" and "Smit Forsythe Project Update"
Towhee Creek, Portuguese Creek and Smit Forsythe Creek are the most important of these streams. All of these support significant populations of spawning salmon. The fish lay their eggs after fall rains have again filled them, the eggs hatch in the spring and as the stream dries in mid-May the young fish wriggle their way downstream to the Tsolum and out to the ocean.
These seasonal streams are, surprisingly, the most productive of all the streams in the system. The reason for this is that during their dry period they "store" energy in the form of microorganisms. These microrganisms are processing organic material all summer under the dry stream bed. When fall rains again make these streams flow they produce a "nutrient pulse" that feeds the entire river.
Incoming spawning adults appear to "smell" this nutrient pulse and they make a beeline up these streams that were completely bone dry only weeks before. The eggs are laid and the stream begins its drying only after these new young fish are swiming freely the following spring.
The projects we have and are doing on these streams are attempting to make them more fry friendly. We look for physical obstructions to their desire to get out before the stream dries and we look for opportunities to store water in ponds to hydrate the surrounding areas as they dry.
Copper Levels are under control!
Since the installation of the geomembrane and soil cover there has not been one reading over our targets!
The only real trend we are seeing yet is in cutthroat trout. We are seeing a definite trend upwards in this population while other stocks are not showing trends but appear to be different each year.
Pink salmon however appear to be declining steadily each year. From over 40,000 spawners in 2001 to only 2,500 in 2007 but 2009 saw almost 50,000 and then only 900 in 2010.
We have continually enhanced pink stocks since re-opening the Tsolum Facility on Headquarters Creek in 1999 releasing one million fry each year. The Puntledge Hatchery has also released a million pinks over several of these years in addition to the fry we release. Even with all this effort we are seeing huge variations in returning pinks.
What are the reasons Pink Salmon are not stabilizing?
The main reason we believe is due to shifting gravel during strom events where eggs, alevins and immature fry are loosed and destroyed.
We suspect that seals may have something to do with the instability. Seals in the Courtenay River arrive to feed on outmigrating juveniles at the same time we are releasing these fry and there is nowhere for them to hide because the Courtenay River has no habitat features.
We also, after much discussion and researching both sides of the sea lice debate around fish farms, believe that the Broughton fish farms are reducing survival. It is well-established that pink and chum fry from east coast Vancouver Island streams school together along the mainland and make their way to the ocean along this nutrient rich path eating and growing as they access the fjords, stream mouths and bays. Unfortunately, this path takes these schools through the Broughton and through the elevated sea lice populations in ths area.
These three impacts on our fry can be dealt with and the TRRS continues to network with agencies and industry to keep up to date with the latest research and initiatives.
The next huge impactare the changes that are ocurring in Georgia Strait. Rising sea temperatures are affecting the critical timing of the plankton these juvenile fish need to "beef" up sufficiently to ake their ocean trek. Ocean survival may be the biggest impact of all. Reasearch continues on this front.
Spawning adult numbers
Pinks (TARGET 50,000) 2007 - 3,500 2008 - 350 2009 - 45,000 2010 - 900
Chum (TARGET 20,000) 2007 - 1,500 2008 - 5,000 2009 - 5000 2010 - 1500
Coho (TARGET 5,000) 2007 - 350 2008 - 200 2009 - 500 2010 - 1000
Coho are generally depressed in
President: Wayne White - Retired BC Gov.
Vice President: Dr. David Morwood - Retired Medical Doctor
Past President: Stewart Duncan - Publisher
Treasurer: Curtis Scoville - Financial Planner
Secretary: Laura O'Brien - Legal Secretary
DIRECTORS (listed by length of service)
Father Charles Brandt - Hermit Monk, Book Conservateur
Ron Frank - Forestry Management Specialist
Kathy Campbell - Registered Professional Biologist
Bob Hager - Retired Fund Manager
Willa Cannon - Registered Professional Nurse
Greg Gibson - Environmental Assessment Biologist