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