Helping salmon go with the flow
As the last wheelbarrow loads of gravel rattled down a sheet of plywood into Fergus Creek Thursday afternoon, Bob Donnelly was explaining why 88 tons of rocks have been added to the South Surrey salmon habitat.
It's all about creating ripples, the president of the Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club said.
"Salmon only spawn in the ripples," Donelly noted.
Adding gravel will add the right sort of ripples and create an "ideal spawning ground," he added.
Volunteers from the club along with the City of Surrey’s Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP) youth teams were hauling gravel and planting trees to make the creek, located near 14 Avenue and King George Boulevard, more hospitable to salmon.
All that gravel had to be hauled along the narrow creekside paths by wheelbarrow, Donelly said, and it was the young ShaRP workers who shouldered most of the burden.
"It was a massive amount of work," he said.
The river gravel was spread along 170 metres of the creek, a tributary of the Little Campbell River.
The land around the area is owned by the West Winds Strata Council, which agreed to let the workers in.
The project was supervised by Fisheries and Oceans.
A press release from the club described the addition of the gravel as the final step in the creek restoration.
Construction of a new storm water diversion by the City of Surrey has helped by directing high-flow storm water away from the creek while maintaining base flow.
So has a Department of Highways “salmon friendly” repair of the Highway 99 culvert, the release notes.
Mike Phillips, agricultural stewardship team leader for SHaRP, called the project "a great experience and a lot of fun" for the young workers.
For 17 years, SHaRP summer students have been working in supervised teams on watershed enhancement, agricultural stewardship, community education, industrial education, as well as public relations.
Funding for this year’s program was provided by the City of Surrey engineering department, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and the Surrey school district.
For more information about the Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club, visit http://sfgc.ca/.
More about the SHaRP program can be learned at http://bcsalmon.ca/salmon/tag/surrey/