General · 6th May 2015
At Quadra Island Salmon Enhancement Society's recent AGM, we had the opportunity to reflect on the 2014 events and accomplishments of our dedicated board members and volunteers.
A good deal of our board meeting time was spent discussing the future of the counting fence at the outlet of Village Bay Lakes. The present system is very labour intensive during adult salmon migration, with twice daily visits by committed individuals, particularly Larry Hafemeister and Lauren Miller. There are also safety issues since the fence must be accessed by boat during all kinds of weather in October and November. We are looking at options for a land line powered camera system in this remote location. Since any viable options we have found so far are very expensive, we are proceeding cautiously. We continue our research and discussion around this issue in 2015.
Good rapport was maintained with relevant agencies regarding issues of mutual interest. We continue to review and comment on any TimberWest blocks that may have stream issues. At our request, Emcon promptly cleans the large woody debris blockages at the Hyacinthe Bay Road culverts. We met with Tom Rutherford from DFO, and other like-minded groups, to discuss the ongoing problem of the absence of a permanent DFO Community Advisor, despite a series of excellent temporary ones. The CA assists groups such as ours in the implementation of habitat enhancement projects.
The EcoCenter was open during July and August last summer with the help of HRDC funding. Cole Houlihan staffed the center, with 155 visitors stopping in. We have received 2015 funding for another student interpreter; therefore, the EcoCenter will likely be open this summer pending the successful application of an enthusiastic and outgoing student who has an interest in salmon and watershed ecology. The annual release of coho fry from the pond at the EcoCenter took place as usual in late spring, and 500 new coho fry from the Quinsam Hatchery were added to the pond, thanks to Leah Carlson at DFO. Doug Richardson, Larry Hafemeister and other volunteers kindly made upgrades and repairs to the EcoCenter building. After books and files were moved from the old office to the EcoCenter building, they were sorted and organized for future display.
As usual, the drought-proofing program on Hyacinthe Creek was active, and proved invaluable by using stored water in Mud Lake, Reed Lake and the lower wetland on Walcan Road to maintain adequate flow during the summer for both coho fry and trout. The large volume of water stored at the site #3 (lower) wetland, due to beaver activity, was used to our advantage during a very dry summer. We inserted a 4” pipe into the dam and were able to siphon water downstream at an even flow, without disturbing the beaver.
The Village Bay Lakes watershed feeder streams survey continued in 2014, with encouraging results. We hope to explore more streams, and carry out more fry trapping in 2015, using standardized field, mapping and recording protocol. Habitat enhancement work continued on Luoma Creek, headed by Frank Gleeson. A-frames built in 2013 on Luoma Creek had been damaged by high stream flows that winter. Last summer, these were repaired and a large log jam was cleared. Earlier in the year, trees provided by DFO were planted at the outlet of Luoma Creek to provide shade for salmon. Meanwhile, the Granite Bay group of keen volunteers was busy carrying out invertebrate surveys, water quality studies and juvenile sampling on Granite Creek.
Many volunteers were out on the streams weekly in October and November counting salmon returns in Granite, Drew, Village Bay, Open Bay and part of Hyacinthe Creeks. Chum and coho returns remained good for another year. And surprisingly, approximately 200 pink salmon showed up in McKercher Creek. The counting fence at Village Bay Lakes was operational, with volunteers counting and releasing coho and chum into the lake system.
It's easy to overlook how much this group of volunteers accomplished in a year, but total volunteer time given to the society was 875 recorded hours, with likely many more unrecorded. I'd like to thank our volunteers, and particularly the board of directors, who gave many hours of their time attending meetings and stepping up when work needed to be done.
Last fall we were able to carry out a membership drive, thanks to the efforts of Eileen Sowerby. If you haven't already done so, please consider becoming a member to support QISES' efforts. Individual memberships ($10) and family memberships ($15) can be mailed to Box 413 Quathiaski Cove, or phone Eileen at 285-2434. You can find out more about the Society by visiting our website at quadrasalmon.ca.