"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"


Avengers Come to the Rescue

creosotedock3Last month MVIHES received a request from James Craig, MVIHES volunteer and retiree of the BC Conservation Foundation, for help in removing  the timbers of a dock that  washed up on the beach at the end of Arlette Road in San Pareil. The dock was pretty skookum, being made of thick beams soaked with creosote and held together with thick iron pins.

Creosote is no longer used in preserving wood and for good reason. During the lifetime of marine pilings and docks treated with creosote, weathering occurs from tides and water flow which slowly opens the oily outer coating and allows some of the hazardous compounds found in creosote to leach into the water. These compounds are ingested by organisms like mollusks and smaller crustaceans which bioaccumulate the compounds inside their bodies. The hazardous compounds are  transferred through the marine food chain when the organisms are eaten by fish and other animals. So you can see it was important to get the timbers off the beach as quickly as possible.  


On January 10, using their own tools and brawn, MVIHES volunteers James Craig, Eamon Stinson, Dick Dobler and Dick's pal Rick Walz from Qualicum Beach, cut through the iron pins, separated the beams with a steel bar, and cut up the timbers so they could be hauled by hand and piled in the parking lot on Arlette Road. The BCCF has graciously offered to haul the timbers away to the RDN dump, and the RDN is waiving the fees for the proper disposal of this contaminated material.

El Presidente Peter Law has sent this letter of thanks to all involved. 





The Avengers Team left to right:


James Craig (Captain Kelp) 

Dick Dobler (Sand Man) 

Rick Walz (Hulk) 

Eamon Stinson (Shore, you know, like Thor)                        






An Exciting Season of Smolt Counting Comes to an End

 Just like that song by Andrea Bocelli, it's "Time to Say Goodbye".....to the smolt trap for another year. On May 26, volunteers arrived with electric drills, trucks and a trailer to dismantle and take away the smolt trap that had been installed in Shelly Creek on March 23.













The past two months have been very eventful, with a mischievious otter stealing fish out of the smolt box for two days, a few lamprey eels (blech!),  and a smart phone that spent a day swimming with the fish at the bottom of the box and kept right on ticking (it even gave the owner a message that moisture was detected....smart). And we had a visit by a reporter from the PQB News. You can view the newspaper article and video here.

This year's Coho smolt count was the best in 5 years. We counted 6963 Coho smolts and fry, and with the approximately 400 that the otter ate, we estimate there were 7363 smolts and fry in the migration out of Shelly Creek into the Englishman River, with the smolts continuing on to the ocean. We also counted the most trout ever for the smolt trap: 296 of which 51 were identified as Cutthroat.

How does this compare to other years?          

























2017 had very low smolt numbers because an  extremely wet spring caused the creek level to rise high enough to bypass the trap. Depsite the bypass, we still captured the most trout  since the smolt trap count was initiated in 2011. We think the reason for the increase in trout in 2017 and 2018 may be due to the removal of yellow iris (an invasive species) which had taken up a great deal of habitat space in Martindale Pond. With the iris gone, the amount of open water habitat has increased significantly.

Many thanks to our volunteers for making 2018 the best year yet for the smolt trap count!                                                        

Holy smolts, that's a lot of fish!

Wow, 890 Coho smolts in one day! That was the catch one day last week at the smolt trap on Shelly Creek. We're still getting 100 to nearly 300 a day so don't miss out on the action. The migration out of the creek into the Englishman River will probably run for another 3 weeks, so there's still time to participate and help collect important data on the importance of Shelly Creek as a overwintering habitat for salmon smolts. We start at 9 am everyday at the trap on Martindale Rd. Sign up for the days you are available right here: Sign Up.

Don't forget your wellies or chestwaders!