Salmon on B.C.’s west coast are battling fishermen, poachers, climate change and competition for food and space in their attempt to survive and reproduce. The recent Cohen Commission report outlines a variety of factors in their survival — or lack of it.
One thing is clear: there are far more reasons for a collapse of Sockeye salmon on the Fraser River run than any single culprit.
Coho salmon, on the other hand, face similar pressures and challenges, but their numbers do not seem to be as closely scrutinized. That doesn’t mean no one is paying attention to them and their habitat.
At a local level, organizations like the Peninsula Stream Society and the Sidney Anglers group have been working to bring Reay Creek up to snuff. It has taken years of physical labour and education, but their work is paying off.
Coho salmon have returned earlier than ever to Reay Creek. While they still face upstream challenges, habitat restoration efforts by local citizens and industry do wonders in making the water more hospitable.
In the middle of Sidney, Reay Creek winds its way past homes and commercial areas. The Town and creek boosters have built a dam, created a park and helped the area return to a more natural state over the years — a far cry from a time when it flowed near a garbage dump.
The park and creek itself is an urban beauty. While the stream is small, only 800 meters long, it is home to salmon and trout and watched over by eagles and owls — and people who want to make sure it remains as natural as possible.
Reay Creek may only be a small cog, but each one helps keep salmon populations returning over and over.