A decade of work to restore Yorkson Creek as a salmon spawning habitat has paid off with a big increase.
“(I saw) huge silver and red coho everywhere,” Nat Cicuto, president of the Yorkson Watershed Enhancement Society told the Times.
A Friday count of nine locations between 80 Avenue and Highway 1 found 170 fish, up roughly 60 per cent.
Some were as big as 10 pounds.
“This is the best count I’ve seen to date” Cicuto said.
“That’s a lot of fish for such a small creek.”
Cicuto said assuming 50 per cent are females, or 85 females, each with between 2,000 and 4,000 eggs, that could mean as many as 255,000 coho fry will emerge in March and April.
The increase comes shortly after a new salmon-friendly culvert was installed beneath the road that connects 204 Street to 205B Street.
The news is not all good, however.
“The bad news is I have a pollution issue to deal with,” Cicuto said.
It appears sewage is getting into the creek near 84 Avenue, either the result of run-off from an old septic field, a damaged pipe or one that was “mis-connected” said Cicuto, who has professional experience installing pipes.
“The smell is distinctly there.”
Cicuto has filed a report with Langley Township, the provincial ministry of the environment, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Prior to 2004, there weren’t any salmon spawning in Yorkson Creek because they couldn’t get through another culvert .
That changed after the society lobbied the provincial ministry of highways, the DFO and the Township to fix a blockage at Highway 1.
Yorkson Creek and its two major tributaries, West Munday Creek and East Munday Creek, flow through Walnut Grove and Willoughby, draining 20 square kilometres of land into the Fraser River.