Larry Ramsell said salmon heading to spawn in the upper reaches of Elgin Creek are having a tough time this year due to a lack of water flow.

Elgin Creek low flow leaving salmon in the lurch

Water levels at South Surrey's Elgin Creek leaving spawning fish in lurch

Low water flow in Elgin Creek is leaving salmon heading to spawn in the waterway’s upper reaches stuck downstream.

Larry Ramsell, who has watched the coho make the annual trek through his Crescent Road property for decades, said this week he’s seeing dozens of the fish gathering near the culvert that leads to the higher spawning grounds.

But that’s as far as many of them are getting.

“There’s not enough water coming down the creek and they’re stuck here at my place,” he said Monday. “Forty or 50, just laying there. They’re dying with the eggs in them.”

Water flow in Elgin Creek has been an issue for at least a decade. Prior to 2007, lower reaches of the creek would run dry, threatening the coho populations. To ensure the fish had a fighting chance, Ramsell pumped water from his own property.

In July 2007, the City of Surrey – with the help of funds from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Pacific Salmon Foundation – began pumping water into the creek from an emergency stand-by well in Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest. Flowing at a rate of 30 litres per second, the pump was intended to augment the creek when the water flow was low.

Due to problems with the well’s groundwater-level monitor, the pump hasn’t been on for about a month. While Ramsell has tried to fill the gap, “there’s still not enough flow,” he said. “They can’t get up any more than about a half a mile beyond Crescent Road.”

Carrie Baron, Surrey’s drainage and environment manager, said Wednesday that the well will be fixed in time for the 2012 dry season. The necessary part has been special-ordered, she said.

Noting the pump was never meant for year-round use, Baron said some streamkeepers have grown accustomed to the higher flows it has created and worry when the levels drop.

But the current low-flow is not an emergency, she said.

“Typically, your streams don’t need it now,” she said. “It’s not like the creek’s gone dry. The salmon aren’t going to die if they don’t have this water right now.”

Ramsell, commending the city’s ongoing support, agreed the situation is not dire. But it could be better, he said.

“I think we’ll survive,” he said, noting each salmon that successfully spawns lays about 2,500 eggs. “We’ll probably have quite a few fish for next year.

“But there could be so much more if these guys could get up.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Mounties seize guns, drugs and cash from Guildford residence

One man was arrested but no charges have been laid as investigation continues

‘I’m confident that we’ll somehow make it happen,’ says Surrey Eagles owner as BCHL mulls plans to return

Junior ‘A’ hockey league pondering different return-to-play scenarios for 2020-‘21 season

In ‘landmark move,’ Surrey Pride party goes online for the event’s 21st anniversary

‘We have the ‘honour’ of being the first large city to put on a virtual Pride Festival’

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Go Fund Me campaign for family of CN rail worker who died at Thornton Yard in Surrey

Jasvinder Singh Riar, 31, died while at work at the Canadian National Railway Thornton Yard in North Surrey early Monday morning

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Sex offender Danny Depew sentenced in Abbotsford to 2.5 more years

Depew still has child-luring charges before the courts in Ontario

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Golden Ears park expected to be busy the first camping weekend of season

Campgrounds expected to be full or close to full

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Abbotsford Airshow launching virtual Aerospace Camp

Online S.T.E.M. open to students aged 10 to 15, starts later this summer

VIDEO: BREAKING: RCMP Emergency Response Team raid known drug house in Chilliwack

Armed officers respond to reports of shots, bring in ERT, K-9 unit and spike belt

Aldergrove man, 60, can ‘finally afford to retire’ after winning $24M in lottery

Ron Cumiskey plans to use the hefty Lotto 6/49 winnings to stay close to home and his daughters

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Most Read

l -->