What the Town of Qualicum Beach and the local Streamkeepers groups are doing to a small tributary of Beach Creek is shocking, says David James.
They’re also netting and trapping, in order to catch as many resident cutthroat trout as they can before the municipality dredges up silt from a series of pools in the creek, which runs beside Garden Road.
The project, he said, involves improving fish habitat in the 37 pools identified by volunteers by getting rid of as much as one to two feet of silt that has clogged the pools over the years and replacing it with a smaller amount of clean spawning gravel.
The pools are not big, the largest being about 10 by three metres in all, and the fish are small as well, roughly three to four inches, although one six-inch whopper was reportedly caught on Tuesday.
The fish are being transported to a safe holding area while the town vacuum truck sucks up the silt down to bedrock. Once the work is completed, the fish will be allowed to return to their various pools.
“This is an important tributary for Beach Creek because it’s groundwater fed, so it doesn’t dry up in summer,” said Faye Smith, a spokesperson for the Streamkeepers group. “That makes it really worth creating habitat.”
The work, she added, is being monitored by staff from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.