"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"

Newsroom

Clean-up Under the Orange Bridge

bridge imageThe Orange Bridge in Parksville is very familiar to MVIHES since we collect Englishman River water samples from a spot on the bridge every two weeks. In mid-November, MVIHES received a request from volunteer James Craig for help in removing a very large volume of garbage (at least two pick-up truck loads) from the riparian zone of the Englishman River located under and downstream of the Orange Bridge. The heavy rains of winter were fast approaching which meant the river would flood the riparian zone and sweep the garbage onto salmon spawning grounds downstream of the bridge and into the estuary which provides habitat for salmon smolts migrating to the Salish Sea. 

Since mid-October, James had been searching for the government agency responsible for cleaning up  the garbage.  The location sits on the borders of multiple jurisdictions, making responsibility less than clear. One of his calls was to Brad Boyden, Bridge Area Manager for Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) in Nanaimo. Just when it appeared that MVIHES volunteers would have to clean up the huge mess themselves, Brad called James and stated he had directed Mainroad Contracting in Parksville to clean up the garbage, not just from under the bridge, but downstream as well which is well out of the highway right-of-way. Good news indeed!

On November 22, Supervisor Luke Maron and his crew of six from Mainroad Contracting in Parksville descended on the site with pick-up trucks and hand-bombed all the garbage into the back of their trucks. James Craig and Carl Rathburn (MVIHES past president) were in attendance to ensure the integrity of the riparian zone was maintained. A job well done by all.

cohenMany thanks go out to Brad Boyden of MOTI, the gang from Mainroad Contracting, and our own James Craig for identifying the problem and persevering in solving the problem. The salmon salute you! 

Shelly Park Gets Some TLC

shellycreeksigninstalled

 

 

 

 

Have you seen the  awesome signs that were just installed in Shelly Park? 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Shelly Creek is Parksville’s last fish-bearing stream. The stretch of creek within Shelly Park, located at Hamilton Road, has received a lot of attention lately from MVIHES, local residents, and Vancouver Island University to conserve the  Cutthroat Trout that spend their entire lives in the park. This includes:

 Stream Flow Monitoring for Hydrology Data            Riparian Planting                                      Cutthroat Trout Study

flowtracker1JohnPhillipscutthroat

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

    Barb Riordan, Nov. 20, 2018                                         John Phllips, Mar, 3, 2019                                             Bradon Judson, Oct. 21, 2018

  

 The Park status, and the natural attractiveness of the area draws many local residents who walk the trail that follows the creek. In 2018, MVIHES volunteers who were monitoring stream flows within the park had many interactions with the park’s users – many of whom were unaware of the special ecological status of these Cutthroat Trout and their sensitive habitats. These public interactions  were mostly positive, with many expressions of concern and a willingness to help where they can. MVIHES viewed this as an opportunity to deliver an education program to heighten public awareness.

Upon seeing the fabulous sign installed by the Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers'  at the trailhead of Grandon Creek in the Town of Qualicum Beach,  MVIHES decided a series of signs that explain the presence of the Cutthroat Trout,  their life cycle and habitat, as well as the activities in the watershed that can have negative impacts, was a great way to increase public awareness. 

 Since the park is under the jurisdiction of the City of Parksville, Peter Law (MVIHES President) approached the City Parks Foreman, Warren Payne, about the proposal to install signs in the park. Warren supported the idea, especially since the City had begun installing these kind of "info signs" in some of the parks and thought Shelly Park was a good candidate. The City had hired a graphic artist to design the park signs, so Warren arranged for the artist to design the signs for Shelly Park using content and photos provided by MVIHES. Six signs were produced for Shelly Park, one of which is shown below.

shellycreeksignage

A real beauty, eh? The City not only produced the six signs but installed them in strategic locations selected by MVIHES.

bridgeBuilding on the knowledge of these Cutthroat Trout, the Parks Department has submitted a request to fund a 17 meter bridge to cross the creek, replacing the make-shift crossing currently in use by park users, seen in the photo to the right.  This will be a huge benefit to the fish that are spooked (stressed) every time someone (or their dog) pauses to look at the trout in the small shallow pool at the crossing.  It will also mean a more stable steam channel as riparian vegetation will no longer get trampled by trail users.

Many thanks go out to the City of Parksville for recognizing this small park’s ecological importance, both from a neighbourhood perspective and a regional (watershed) perspective. Good things happen when government and stewardship groups collaborate on projects. If you haven't seen them yet, check out the signs in Shelly Park and at Grandon Creek. 

Many thanks also go out to the countless volunteers and residents who have contributed to the conservation of Shelly Park.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Shelley Goertzen, Feb, 27, 2019                                                         

Life's a Beach

The month of May was all about beaches for our volunteers. Check out our "Sharing Shorelines" brochure about conserving shorelines, not only for sustaining marine life (and beaches), but protecting real estate as well. Many thanks to Islands Trust who produced the original brochure and allowed us to modify it for Parksville. And MVIHES vounteer Ross Peterson who did the modifying and got it published. 

ForageFish6On May 29, Haley Tomlin from Vancouver Island University gave an excellent training session on surveying the spawning habitat of forage fish (Sand Lance and Surf Smelt) to the Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers. Of course, MVIHES just had to crash the party. You may remember, we were trained in forage fish surveys last year by Ramona de Graf using the State of Washington methodology. Haley, who is conducting these surveys on behalf of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute, has created a "Citizen Science" program that simplifies the State of Washington method. The data collected from this program will be stored  on the Pacific Salmon Foundation website which should make it possible to identify beaches that are important for forage fish spawning when an area is being considered for development.

 

vortexuse 2

Haley is also lending us a fancy piece of equipment called a vortex (shown in photo) that is powered by a 12 volt car battery. The vortex separates fish eggs and embryos from our sand samples and replaces the manual "panning for eggs" method we have been using. Very cool. MVIHES will continue surveying local beaches for forage fish spawning habitat. If you haven't already been involved in our surveying and you would like to participate, just drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

   Beachseiningarticle

 

On May 30, Dave Clough, our consulting Biologist for many years, lead us on another beach seining session at the Englishman River estuary. We were accompanied by Emily Vance, a reporter for PQB news. Emily wrote a great article that explains all about why we beach seine.

 

Photo by Emily Vance as seen in news article 

 

See you on the beach!