It’s not too often Faye Smith gets to report some positive environmental news, but the spokespersn for the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society was able to do just that this week.
The news involved a tally of Coho salmon smolts, conducted over the past month on Shelly Creek, a tributary of the Engllishman River.
The count began on April 22 at a site beside Martindale Road in special box built by Pat Vek. By the time the count ended this week, Smith said close to 3,000 small fish, mostly Coho smolts, had been recorded.
She said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been monitoring the young salmon laving the Englishman River for the past three years, yet Shelly Creek hasn’t been included in the count because it is a small tributary joining the river just upstream of the orange bridge — and below the DFO monitoring station.
“This is important because it’s an indication that salmon are actually using Shelly Creek,” Smith said. “We don’t have a lot of information about it, but this smolt count is an indication that at least salmon are accessing it and producing a good number of smolts. We were surprised at the number, actually.”
Smith said she was impressed with the dedication of the volunteers, noting they had to come out every morning to count the fish and then release them.
“It was their idea,” she said. “They took charge and they’ve come up with some really valuable data for the watershed.”