General News · 23rd January 2022
Cortes Streamkeepers have observed greater fluctuation of water levels and increased sedimentation in Basil Creek over the last couple of years. The recent snowmelt caused an even greater amount of sand and gravel to wash down Basil creek, smothering the majority of the chum salmon eggs and alevin in our incubation boxes. The wild spawn is most likely also washed away or smothered.
Most of us understand that global heating is fuelling an increase in severe weather events. I think that there are also other factors at play here, more specific to Basil. Over the same days that Basil was a raging grey torrent, Whaletown Creek, although extremely high, was flowing clear and clean. James Creek also stays clear even in flood.
It is evident that the Basil watershed is reaching the limits of disruption that it can tolerate and still support a healthy salmon run.
There have been huge efforts made over recent years to increase the salmon returns to Basil Creek. There has been wonderful collaboration between the Klahoose and Tla’amin communities, DFO, Ministry of Transport, FOCI Streamkeepers, and the folks living on each side of the creek below the road. We need to build on that good work.
I ask all landowners in the Basil watershed to please move very slowly, thoughtfully, and cooperatively with any plans for development, land clearing, roadwork, or ditching. Clearly we already have runoff problems, which need to be mitigated, not worsened. And we must work together to achieve a net increase in healthy forest cover.
a Cortes Streamkeeper.