General News · 28th October 2019
Saturday, October 26, was a great community day! Amongst other community events, the Children’s Forest youth partnered with FOCI Streamkeepers at the Whaletown Creek AND chum returned to Basil & Hansen Creeks.
A number of native species were planted along the Whaletown Creek banks upstream of the arch culvert to re-establish a healthy riparian area where the restoration work took place. Shore pine, salal, sword fern, Pacific ninebark, Nootka rose, oceanspray, red-osier dogwood, salmonberry and thimbleberry were planted by 5 keen, youthful streamkeepers – Fergus, Kira, Seth, Vince and Lou. The much needed help by several adults was truly appreciated – Ryan, Chris, Leona, Ruth and Saskia. Many thanks to the youth and adults for helping restore healthy spawning habitat for Whaletown Creek. The Pacific Salmon Foundation provided the funding for plants as part of completing the stream restoration projects on Cortes Island.
Basil and Hansen Creeks had their own excitement on October 26 with chum returning to both creeks. Chum often sneak into their natal creeks during the dark on a rising tide, as happened this past weekend. There are about 30 chum making their way up Basil Creek, with fewer numbers in Hansen Creek at this time.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of many more spawning chum over the next several weeks. Chum returns in this fisheries area have been late, and no one quite knows what the season will look like. This makes these chum especially important and their success at spawning especially critical.
You can help by observing the following protocol: no walking in the creek; please keep dogs & children out of the creek; approach salmon quietly & slowly AND from downstream (this way, if you startle the salmon, they will swim upstream rather than backtrack); be respectful of private property.
The two best places to view salmon at Basil Creek are at the mouth of the creek where it empties into Squirrel Cove, or below the arch culvert at the public trail access and signage. There is private property below the arch culvert on each side of the creek.
Hansen Creek has more shrubs and plants in the riparian area that makes it more difficult to view salmon.
All of us on Cortes can be helpful streamkeepers by watching for salmon action in bays and other creeks. Please direct any sightings to: Mike Manson, Rick Kolstead & Deb Peters, Chris Napper, Leona Jensen, Chris & Debbie Dragseth, Elizabeth Anderson, Max Thayson, Christine & Cec Robinson, or the FOCI office.
Chum in Basil Creek.