"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

Shelly Park Gets Some TLC

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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

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    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.

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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 the importance of 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                                                         

Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies - MVIHES term for an expert in identifying aquatic bugs 

Can Benthic Invertebrates (bugs that live at the bottom of rivers and lakes) provide us with a measure of the health of our watershed? Well, yes they can.

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Bruce Murray, who is a MVIHES member and our own Lord of the Flies, is guiding us on a program of monitoring Benthic Invertebrates for the purpose of measuring the health of the Englishman River watershed.  Since June, we have partnered with members of the Island Waters Flyfishing Club in Nanaimo to sample five sites on the Englishman River.  A member of the Mid-Island Castaways Fly Fishing Club in Qualicum Beach is also participaing. It makes perfect sense that fly-fishermen would also be proficient at identifying aquatic bugs.

  

We are using a method of sampling that has been around for a while, and anyone who has taken the “Steamkeepers"  course will remember it. We scrape rocks from the bottom of the river into fine meshed nets to capture the bugs, and then set up tables on the river’s edge, where we sort the bugs into ice cube trays (now you know where the fly in your drink came from).

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Bruce then straps a microscope to his face to get a very close look at the features of the bugs to aid in their identification. Ok, so it's not a microscope on his face but it's a pretty impressive set of magnifiers. Data on the types of bugs and their numbers are recorded.

 

 

 

 

To give you an idea of how useful this monitoring can be, benthic invertebrates are classified into the following three groups based on their ability or inability to tolerate polluted  water.

  • Pollution Intolerant: Caddis Flies, Stone Flies, May Flies, Dobson Flies, Riffle Beetles
  • Somewhat Pollution Intolerant: Dragon Flies, Damsel Flies, Crane Flies, Aquatic Sowbugs, Alder Flies, Scud, Crayfish, Clams
  • PollutionTolerant: Midges, Blackfies, Backswimmers, Boatmen, Leeches, Aquatic Worms, 

However, just because you have Leeches and Boatmen living in your pond doesn't necessarily mean the pond is polluted, because these guys can live under all kinds of conditions. That's what makes them Pollution Tolerant. It's when you have very few or none of the Pollution Intolerant bugs in your pond that you may have a problem with water quality.

This is how the data we collect on Benthic Invertebrates in the river will be used to assess its health. We have two more sites to sample which we plan to do this fall. If you would like to participate in this project, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Just look at scenery you'll be working in!

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Many thanks to Bruce, the Island Waters Fly Fishing Club, the Castaways and our volunteers.