"Committed to the restoration of wild Pacific salmon in mid Vancouver
Island watersheds through habitat restoration and community engagement"
"Committed to the restoration of wild Pacific salmon in mid Vancouver
Island watersheds through habitat restoration and community engagement"

Our Cohos have some strange visitors

Our Coho smolts had a couple of strange visitors the other day: pumpkinseeds.pumpkinseed

Pumpkinseed is an introduced species and rumour has it that it was introduced by the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery about 100 years ago. This is what a document in the DFO library has to say about pumpkinseeds:

Pumpkinseed prefers the same habitat as juvenile Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) though it has not been found to have a direct effect on Coho. It was not found to consume them directly, and the growth rates of Coho juveniles in areas with Pumpkinseed were greater than growth rates in neighbouring areas without Pumpkinseed. – (provided by Dave Clough)

Apparently, pumpkinseed help keep the water clean and perhaps the Coho smolts benefit from this. An interesting relationship.

Since May 10, we have counted 513 Coho, 113 Steelhead and 15 Cutthroat trout. By May 10 last year we had counted 4,313 Coho, 61 Steelhead and 8 Cutthroat trout. It’s a very different year so far with interesting surprises. Don’t miss out. See you at the smolt trap. 




Loss of a great friend.......

FayeIt was with great sadness that we  learned of the passing of Faye Smith, our friend and Project Co-ordinator, on March 23. Faye was the heart and soul of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society which was established in 1996 to restore wild Pacific salmon to mid Vancouver Island watersheds.

Faye was passionate about involving communities in the stewardship of their watersheds, with the belief that residents can make a difference when they learn the connection between what is happening on land and the health of wild salmon. The “Watershed Health and You” program was developed for just this purpose.

“The advancement in knowledge of the Englishman River Watershed is greatly due to Faye’s continuous hard work, whether in organizing volunteers for sampling water, filling applications for funding, organizing public meetings, attending public forums … and asking hard questions.  And always with a smile and a lot of class.”  Gilles Wendling

Faye Smith is a terrific example of a dedicated stream-keeper, whose many hours of volunteer time, working on our small urban streams, lakes and wetlands is having an important influence on local government’s policy concerning watercourses.” Peter Law

Contributions to MVIHES will be used to continue Faye’s work in community watershed stewardship and salmon habitat restoration projects.

Faye is already greatly missed.boot


Shelly Creek Stream Assessment and Fish Habitat Survey Report

Beginning in the summer of 2014, our members began a systematic study of the creek’s physical and biological features, using a method developed by the Government of BC called the Urban Salmon Habitat Program. In 2015, we completed the survey in the upper reaches of the creek (above Highway 19). With up to 20 members contributing hundreds of hours measuring habitats in conditions that resembled a jungle, we now had a better idea of what was happening to Shelly Creek. 
salmon8Two of the major findings of the study were:
1. The creek’s pools between Blower Road and Wildgreen Way have been filled in with sediments as a result of erosion of the creek’s stream banks from high (winter) flows.

2. Much of the 2 km of creek above Highway 19 has been excavated. This has resulted in significant changes to the natural hydrology of the watershed. Click here to read the  complete report, Shelly Creek Stream Assessment and Fish Habitat Survey Report-2014 and 2015.


In an effort to understand how these changes to the stream’s hydrology can be modified to improve the stability of the creek, and hence the water quality, MVIHES hired one of British Columbia’s experts on water engineering, Jim Dumont, P.Eng., to study the creek and provide us with a report. The report is complete and is titled: Shelly Creek Water Balance and Sediment Reduction Plan, Technical Summary.

Returning to the Basics of Water Sustainability

We were honoured to have Kim Stephens, Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability, speak at our Annual General Meeting on Septemer 20, 2016. Below is the article published by the Parksville Qualicum Beach News.

by  Auren Ruvinsky - Parksville Qualicum Beach News
Kim Stephens, executive director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability, spoke about watershed science at the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society’s AGM at the Errington Hall Tuesday.— Image Credit: AUREN RUVINSKY PHOTO
Parksville Qualicum Beach posted Sep 22, 2016 at 9:00 AM
Floods, droughts and wildfires over the past couple decades have proven valuable "teachable" moments for researchers and advocates of watershed health and science, according to Kim Stephens.
Stephens, an engineer and executive director of the B.C. Partnership for Water Sustainability (PWS) was speaking at Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society's (MVIHES) AGM Tuesday.
"Everyone learns about the water cycle in elementary school, but by high school most have forgotten what they learned," he said of what he called a return to basics in our understanding of water systems.
"What does this mean for communities? Consider that a legacy of community and infrastructure design practices has failed to protect the natural water balance (hydrologic integrity)," he said, adding that that failure "has financial, level‐of‐service and life‐cycle impacts and implications for taxpayers."
The results can be very expensive to fix, he said of resulting disasters or trying to add infrastructure after the fact.
"Local governments are starting to recognize that watersheds are natural assets that have value, ecosystem services have a role in municipal service delivery, and so they need to be integrated into their asset management programs."
It's crucial to include watersheds in wider planning and manage and protect them like the valuable infrastructure they are, he said.
Sparked by the coho salmon crisis in the 1990s, Stephens said B.C. researchers have been working with counterparts in Washington state on how to "ensure that science‐based understanding is applied properly and effectively in B.C. communities to implement solutions and practices that actually restore the water balance of watersheds."
Stephens and MVIHES used the Tuesday meeting in Errington to launch a magazine-style primer that's meant to be easily accessible and understandable for everyone.
Peter Law, PWS director said in a news release that "Implementation of 'whole systems' thinking would include incorporating the benefits provided by nature into the delivery of local government services."
Stephens and Law both praised the work of small local stewardship groups like
MVIHES in helping people understand the complex science and in doing the actual on the ground work to help restore and maintain the watersheds.
"Today, community organizations partner with local governments to monitor and restore local watershed health," Law said. "These groups provide thousands of volunteer hours to restore aquatic habitats."
The PWS's primer is available on their website (http://waterbucket.ca/) with a lot of other good information and through MVIHES.

Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Newsletter


“Get outside, be active, connect with people, and care for your watershed while you’re at it!” was the main message shared by Faye Smith, MVIHES’ Project Coordinator, in an interview with MABR Coordinator Monica Shore.
With the help and leadership of professionals like Fisheries Biologist, Dave Clough, of DR Clough Consulting, MVIHES is the perfect starting point for community members of all ages to learn the basics about watershed stewardship. Year-round, there are opportunities for residents to participate in streamkeeping workshops (there’s one coming up in September!), learn about species identification or water monitoring, and get their hands dirty removing invasive plants from sensitive fish habitats.

Founded in the late 1990s, MVIHES is well known for its work in this region. Through programs like Watershed Health & You, the restoration of Shelly Creek, and Protecting Groundwater in the Englishman River Watershed, members of the organization volunteer their time to learn and practice how to be collective stewards of the places that are vital for the health and wellbeing of wild Pacific salmon and all living species on mid Vancouver Island. 

Make it your September resolution to get involved in a group like this!Don’t like getting your hands dirty but have other skills like grant-writing, G.I.S., or research? There are many ways that you can be a steward of your watershed. Contact Faye Smith to learn more about MVIHES and how you can be of service while having a great time: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MVIHES’ next AGM is on September 20 at 5pm at the Errington War Memorial Hall. The $10 membership includes a salmon dinner!

Read the rest of the newsletter here

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