Aldergrove watershed society celebrates 20th year

Bertrand Creek Enhancement conservation group keeps active

Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society members have planted trees and worked to save wetlands and watersheds in Aldergrove.

On Friday, Feb. 23 the Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society celebrates its 20th anniversary as Aldergrove’s non-profit watershed conservation society.

The society formed as a Langley Township committee of concerned citizens in 1994, tasked with educating the community on the importance of conserving the local watershed. These citizens were disturbed by the degraded condition of Bertrand Creek and its tributaries with the Aldergrove town limits — in sharp contrast to its glory days as a steelhead fishing destination in the 1950s.

The original members of the society included the late Gordon Smith, Dave Hockins, John Mazerall, Eleanor Parkinson, Heather McMullan, Reg Sherwin, and Darlene Sherwin, who remains a member to this day.

Bertrand Creek flows south through the community of Aldergrove in the Township of Langley, and is a cross-border tributary of the Nooksack River. The Bertrand Creek Watershed drains approximately 113 square kilometres of land divided by the Canada/US border. While many changes have occurred to the stream over time owing to surrounding land uses, it still supports small populations of anadromous (spawning) and resident fish, including coho salmon. Bertrand is one of the very few watersheds in the world to support populations of Salish sucker and Nooksack dace; both are on the endangered species list.

Historically, this watershed was once forested and its streams supported abundant populations of salmon and other aquatic species. Over the years rapid urban and agricultural development has impacted Bertrand Creek and its inhabitants.

Restoration efforts by the BCES like garbage clean-ups, stream enhancement, and stream side fencing and planting have involved hundreds of community members in an attempt to make Bertrand Creek a more productive stream.

Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society established as a non-profit society in 1998, with Nicole Marples (currently the chair of the Langley Environmental Partners Society) as the first coordinator.

Among BCES’s accomplishments are construction of the bridge over Bertrand Creek in Vanetta Park at 268 St. and 32 Ave., tree planting in the Jackman Wetlands Parks 15 years ago, removal of invasive ivy and blackberries at Otter Park, and numerous stream clean-ups and reconstruction improvements in and along Bertrand Creek.

The society has also sponsored environmental clubs at Shortreed Elementary and Parkside Elementary Schools for over 15 years.

Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society welcomes new members. Membership fee is $5 per year. They meet on the third Wednesday of every month from September to June, 7 p.m. at Aldergrove Community Secondary School’s library.

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