Spawning salmon are failing to reach their destination in Elgin Creek due to a lack of water flow

Spawning salmon are failing to reach their destination in Elgin Creek due to a lack of water flow

It was a life-and-death situation

Editor:

Re: Low flow hurting salmon, Dec. 13.

Editor:

Re: Low flow hurting salmon, Dec. 13.

In 2007, Surrey began pumping water from a standby well in Sunnyside Urban Forest, intending it for low water levels in Elgin Creek during the summer months only, but unfortunately low water flow is not always a summer issue.

Low water flows in Elgin Creek has been an issue for a long time. Subdivision building has decreased ground water discharge and storm water has been pumped away from streams.

Your article quotes Carrie Baron, Surrey drainage and environment manager, as saying, “It’s not like the creek’s gone dry. The salmon are not going to die if they don’t have this water right now.”

How wrong she was.

More than 70 Coho salmon were counted going upstream through a culvert under Crescent Road in late November, when enough rain finally fell to allow salmon to migrate. Unfortunately, within 48 hours all fish were dead or dying from lack of water; none had spawned. A week later, another 30-35 Coho died from lack of water. In addition, there are still over 40 Coho trapped in a man-made pool at Crescent Road unable to move upstream to spawn, due to lack of water.

Is this going to be the fate of Elgin Creek, after volunteers spend hundreds and hundreds of hours every year trying to bring salmon back to Surrey streams?

Bob Scanlon, Director, Nicomekl Enhancement Society