How we measure success: the fall fish counts

Chum and coho salmon were back as usual in Quadra streams last fall, and QISES members were walking the stream banks counting them. Volunteers walked sections of Drew, Open Bay, Village Bay, Hyacinthe and Granite Creeks at least once a week in a two-month period. Besides counting, observers took note of stream flow, fish obstructions, predators, stream bank integrity, water temperature and clarity. Numbers of living and dead fish were recorded. A tally sheet was created for each stream showing the estimated total number of fish entering the watercourse. The information was sent to Department of Fisheries and Oceans for their records.

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A counting fence installed near the mouth of Hyacinthe Creek in the late 1980s

The numbers thus recorded provide a snapshot of what's happening stream by stream across the island. It's not, however, an absolute count. Some fish enter the watercourse at night, moving swiftly upstream without being seen. Smaller streams may require higher water flows for fish to transit, and a monitor's timing may simply be wrong for seeing them. 

The numbers of salmon returns for 2017 were:

Drew Creek: n/o coho and 15 chum

Open Bay Creek: 1,879 chum and n/o coho

Village Bay Creek: 1,460 chum, 153 coho and 236 jacks

Granite Creek: 129 chum, 2 coho

Hyacinthe Creek: 2,208 chum and n/o coho

Klunis Creek (Herriot Bay): n/o chum

Note: n/o means none observed

Hy Cr mouth

Hyacinthe Creek, downstream from the bridge at the estuary

After several years of planning, we have finally improved the counting system at the outlet of Village Bay Lake so that returning salmon (mostly coho) are not held up at the counting fence on their way into the lake system. A new camera system was installed, along with a new dock and ramp for better access. Volunteers gave almost 1,000 hours of their time to finish this project. QISES is fortunate in having three Village Bay Lake residents, Lauren Miller, Larry Hafemeister and Pete Calverley who volunteer to do the majority of the counting at the fence.

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Spawners at a counting fence

Numbers of returning salmon show a lot of variance year to year. There are many factors that affect whether or not the fish survive. Instream temperatures, rainfall patterns, and mortality rates in the oceans are just a few of them.

To all our volunteer stream keepers and walkers, as well as to upland owners, our huge thanks! It's our hope that, with your help, Quadra streams can maintain an increasing level of health, so that the salmon will come back year after year.

2013 Count on Open Bay2013 Count on Open Bay Creek

 

2013 Chum2013 Spawning Chum

 

Read more about:

• What we do

• What we've learned about stream keeping

• The necessity of drought-proofing

. The EcoCentre