Romney Creek Amphibian Habitat and Stream Habitat Restoration Project
MVIHES has partnered with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, City of Parksville and School District 69 to involve local school children in the wetland and stream restoration of Romney Creek. Romney Creek is a small watershed that flows through Parksville (mostly underground in pipes) into the Strait of Georgia. The goal of this project is to re-establish a channel and wetlands in the forested area owned by the City of Parksville near Springwood Middle School. This is an area used by residents as a nature walk.
The first action was to excavate two ponds in the forest that became the focus of the wetland study last Spring. Amphibian/vegetation Biologist Elke Wind, designed and introduced an inventory and monitoring program that the Grade 6 children can carry out year after year.
Fisheries Biologist Dave Clough worked with the children on fish and fish habitat using the newly excavated stream channel in Romney Creek as a demonstration site. The children will do a stream habitat survey, and water quality testing. Monitoring of the site will continue with the new class in September 2010. MVIHES wants to see that the kids take "ownership" of the site.
In addition we hope to educate the residents of Parksville, and frequent visitors to this popular nature walk about fish and amphibian habitat with word of mouth and media publicity.
This project is important because small creeks like Romney Creek used to produce Coho salmon in unbelievable numbers in times not too far past. These important Coho streams were paved over, culverted, diverted and drained to make way for urban development. Consequently, the habitat for salmon and other species, such as cutthroat trout that spend a significant period of their life cycle in fresh water, has been greatly diminished. As each new wave of people comes along, the once-important salmon-bearing stream becomes less so because it is no longer visible or as productive. Whenever an opportunity arises to educate the younger generation or the new residents about the importance of habitat for fish and, indeed, all species of wildlife, MVIHES feels a responsibility to use that opportunity and make the most of it. Hopefully, this will lead to a better understanding of the needs of salmonids in our fresh-water systems.