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Pacific Herring in the Salish Sea

Collaborative mapping and place-based conservation

Pacific Herring (Clupea pallasii) are an extremely important species in our local waters. Concerns about dwindling spawning events in several regions have led to this collaborative mapping project. The 2014 spawning season will be the pilot study as we continue to build our network of community organizations, citizens, and industry partners.

You can help! If you see a Pacific herring spawning event, add it to our online map:

PacHerringLink

Urban Coho in Colquitz Creek

Engaging citizens in science, restoration, and monitoring

World Fisheries Trust is collaborating with Colquitz Salmonid Stewardship and Education Society, the University of Victoria, the University of Manitoba, Stantec, and others to expand on the successes of the fish-fence at Colquitz Creek. Connecting scientific research, restorating activities, education, and monitoring with a project that engages citizens creates an empowered community of local stewards. colquitz4

Urban salmon stocks, while generally small, are increasingly being recognized as key components of future salmon survival. While not generally the focus of governmental management or restoration efforts, they contribute valuable genetic diversity to help counter effects of climate change and are keystone species both biologically for the urban streams and socially for galvanizing public interest and engagement in conservation. Nevertheless, there are large gaps in knowledge on what keeps salmon coming back to sometimes quite hostile environments and lots of need for increased public engagement.

Colquitz2

Colquitz Creek and the Gorge Waterway, are uniquely situated in the core of BC’s Capital Regional District on the lower end of Vancouver Island. Colquitz Creek has supported a surprisingly resilient stock of Coho and sea-run cutthroat trout, largely without hatchery enhancement, but with a dedicated community support group. Despite doomsday predictions of salmon extinctions, this run has seen record returns in the last couple of years – providing opportunities for increased community engagement as well as research on limiting factors. The Gorge and Colquitz Creek are particularly well situated for this work, both due to their biologically characteristics and their social situation.

Smolt traps will compliment current enumeration with information on young salmon. Characterizing the traits of juvenile Coho salmon in urban environments will allow management actions that allow for better conservation of these valuable stocks, examination of otoliths will provide information on habitats used by the urban salmon during their lives,  and signage and Gorge Waterway Nature House displays will encourage hands-on involvement by knowledgeable and engaged citizens.

Local projects

Lily in classroom- used

OLYMPIA OYSTER MONITORING

The Olympia oyster is the only native oyster on British Columbia’s coast. Traditionally an important food source for local First Nations people, they are under threat from non-native oysters. In July 2009, World Fisheries Trust started a project to examine the population of Olympia oysters that remains in the Gorge.

GORGE WATERWAY NATURE HOUSE

The Gorge Waterway Nature House in Esquimalt Gorge Park opened on Ocean's day in 2008. It lets students and other visitors experience an amazing hands-on opportunity to explore the ecology around the Gorge Waterway. By observing, discussing and interacting with live aquatic animals, visitors gain a new appreciation of the aquatic diversity of the area.

SEAQUARIA IN SCHOOLS

In 2007 WFT joined the Seaquaria program – a marine educational program created and run by WestWind SeaLab Supplies. Seaquaria literally brings local ocean life into the classroom through permanent aquaria and curriculum-linked programming.

ECO LEARNING HIVE  California family

Featuring over 25 Environmental Education groups, the Eco Learning Hive supports and helps educators within the CRD community communicate, connect and partner with each other to improve environmental education.

CARE OF THE GORGE

This dynamic water quality-monitoring program on the Gorge Waterway lets students learn about their local watershed through hands-on activities and technology.

 

 


 

Past local projects

PACIFIC LEATHERBACK TURTLE RECOVERY PLAN (2003)

The world's largest sea turtle, the Pacific Leatherback turtle, makes annual feeding migrations from nesting beaches in Southeast Asia all the way to Coastal BC. In 2007 WFT was part of the Recovery Team, which developed a rescue strategy for this remarkable animal.

 

KENNEDY LAKE WELCOME SIGN (2003)

Although the Kennedy Lake watershed at Clayoquot Sound has played an important role in providing salmon for the region for many years, its significance was largely unknown to visitors. In 2003, WFT launched a public awareness campaign and unveiled a Kennedy Lake Welcome Sign on Highway 4.

 

SALMON GENETIC CONSERVATION (2003)

WFT is a world leader in fish genetic conservation, and was involved in a number of projects in 2003, including the First Nations Salmon Gene Banking, Salmon Gene Banking for DFO, and the Rivers Inlet Chinook Project.

SALMON IN THE FLIGHT PATH INTERPRETIVE EXHIBIT (2000)

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Wsikem First Nation and the Victoria Airport Authority were working to rebuild salmon runs near the airport, knowing that local streams traditionally provided food for native communities. WFT told their story through an interactive exhibit installed at the Victoria International Airport Main Terminal for two years.

 

A GENETIC BLUEPRINT FOR REBUILDING CLAYOQUOT SOCKEYE SALMON (1996 - 2000)

WFT worked with local partners to create a "family tree" for Clayoquot sockeye stocks, using the new tool of DNA fingerprinting. The genetic relationships we discovered are now available for managers and community groups developing enhancement plans for the stocks.

COUNTING SALMON AT KIRBY CREEK (1997-1999)

To manage salmon properly, you need to know how many are going up the river to spawn. WFT teamed up with local partners to build a salmon counting fence in Kirby Creek, a Coho-producing stream in Sooke, British Columbia. The fence was operated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and local groups to help monitor the health of local stocks until 2003.

 

UP THE CREEK BOARD GAME (1998)

Turning the tide on disappearing salmon requires changes in human behaviour, and a large part of creating this change is education, engagement, and action. WFT developed Up The CreekTM to engage players (ages 12 - adult) in the life of salmon and what they experience during their migration.

 

CULTUS LAKE RECOVERY STRATEGY (2004)

A 2004 strategy funded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

 

TAKING SALMON STEWARDHIP REVIEW (2003-2004)

A 2003/04 report for Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, funded by the Vancouver Foundation.

 

FINALIZATION OF THE PACIFIC LEATHERBACK TURTLE RECOVERY STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN (2002-2003)

Brian Harvey writer and editor. Funded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

 

GHOST RUNS: THE FUTURE OF WILD SALMON ON THE NORTH AND CENTRAL COASTS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (2002)

Brian Harvey editor. Funded by the Raincoast Conservation Society.

 

AHOUSAHT NATION CLAM FARM STUDY (2002)

Funded by the Ahousaht Nation.

 

SALMON AQUACULTURE REVIEW: SUMMARY OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES WITH RELEVANCE TO BLACKCOD AQUACULTURE (1999)

Funded by the Pacific Coast Blackcod Fishermen's Association.

 

STOCK OF BC SALMON WITH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (1997)

Interactive display at Vancouver Aquarium's Science and Technology Week October 17 - 26, 1997. Funded by the Vancouver Aquarium.