Volunteers collect migrating coho to ID, weigh and measure at the Simms Creek fish fence. On May 15, after volunteers noticed a smell the day before, 74 dead coho were found in the trap. Greenways Land Trust photo

Pollutants in Campbell River creek cause juvenile salmon kill

Incident heightens need for awareness of what’s dumped into watershed

A pollutant washed into Simms Creek last month and wiped out a number of coho.

At the Simms Creek fish fence in Willow Point, a rainy forecast is usually a cause for optimism in the volunteers who ID, weigh, and measure fish that pass through the fence.

Rain often indicates a busy day ahead, as numbers of Coho migrating out to sea generally spike during periods of rainfall.

May 14 was no exception, as 170 Coho smolts and 82 cutthroat trout were counted. Unfortunately, as the day went on, a bad smell began to fill the air at the creek. By the evening, the smell had cleared, but the next day, there were 74 dead coho in the trap.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans collected samples of the fish to be sent for testing. While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of events like this, it is most likely linked to pollutants being washed down the creek. The hope is to identify toxins present in the fish’s bodies.

Events like this indicate a need to be more careful about what is put into urban waterways, Josie Simpson of the Greenways Land Trust says in a press release. Pollution is not limited to people dumping toxins directly into a stream, although that kind of thing does happen. More often, pollutants are washed off of surfaces like roads, where they accumulate during dry periods, and contaminate the stormwater that feeds into the creek.

“You might not live directly next to the creek, but if you spill something on your driveway – chemicals, soap, oil, fertilizers – and it gets washed into the storm drains, it will end up there,” says Simpson. “And on a creek the size of Simms, it can have a huge impact on the ecosystem.”

It’s a potent reminder that what we do in our yards and on our streets has an effect on our green spaces, despite how distant they can sometimes appear.

Homeowners can read more about their responsibilities to manage pollutants in the City of Campbell River’s Environmental Protection Bylaw, under Part 3: “Watercourses and the Storm Drainage System.”

Anyone interested in volunteering on their local creeks monitoring fish populations, doing habitat restoration, and keeping an eye out for pollution events is encouraged to reach out to the Greenways Land Trust by emailing info@greenwaystrust.ca, or calling at 250-287-3785.

RELATED: Campbell River organization launches fruit tree pilot project

RELATED: Campbell River students learn about cycle of life during coho fry release

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Some members of city council say the current plan for rebuilding the library isn’t in the community’s best interest, but the majority of council say it should go forward as is, so the motion to reexamine it was defeated. File photo/Campbell River Mirror
Re-examination of plan for new Campbell River library narrowly voted down by council

‘I haven’t heard one argument that does make sense for why that has to be the location’

A welcoming ceremony was held at the meeting of the SRD board April 14, where gifts were exchanged between KCFN Director Kevin Jules (left) and SRD Chair Brad Unger (right) to mark the historic occasion. Photo Submitted
KCFN officially joins SRD as full member

‘For KCFN, this has been a long journey and a long time coming’ says SRD board member Kevin Jules

Fish processing workers fillet farm-raised salmon in Surrey B.C. Photo courtesy BCSFA
Discovery Islands salmon farm removal impacts jobs in B.C.’s Lower Mainland: report

The City of Surrey is the hub of the salmon farming industry in Metro Vancouver

Island Heath has issued an overdose advisory for Campbell River. If someone has overdosed, administering naloxone can help. File photo
Overdose advisory issued for Campbell River

People using drugs advised to protect themselves

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversay of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

(Amandalina Letterio - Capital News)
Kelowna demonstrators show support for Vancouver Island logging activists

Two Kelowna men stood atop a pedestrian bridge on Harvey Avenue to raise awareness about old-growth forests

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num street signs installed in downtown Duncan

Partnership with Cowichan Tribes sees English street names twinned with Indigenous language

Most Read