Windebank Creek Update 2016

Every year in November we look forward to having a volunteer event at our Windebank Creek property that corresponds with the seeing the salmon returning to spawn. Unfortunately this year we had to cancel our annual event due to yet another serious flood that deposited over a metre of silt over the lower half of the property.

But just like the salmon, who refuse to give up on this site, so do we!

We have just approved our management plan for this property and have an interested funding source lined up to help us implement it in 2017. Nothing is confirmed yet, but we will have news about our plans and events where the community can help in the spring – so make sure you check back then!

Windebank Creek Spring Work-Party: Saturday Feb 27th at 9am

Okay so it might not be spring quite yet…
but we want to get a head-start in our ongoing battle against the blackberry and build nest boxes for the birds, bees and bats to use this coming year!

A great group of BCIT students have been helping us with a restoration plan for our section of Windebank Creek. They are organizing a Windebank Creek Maintenance and Nest Box Building Event the morning of Saturday February 27th.
Come out and help us cut blackberry, we will be targeting the new emerging shoots, and hopefully tackling the upstream section. Plus you can help provide habitat and attract pollinators to the creek by constructing bird, bat and mason bee nesting boxes. Kids can help too!
Light snacks will be provided. This event is rain or shine so please dress appropriately for the weather and ensure you are wearing sturdy shoes or boots. We will have some supplies but please bring clippers and gloves if you have them.

This event will take place at the usual location: the dead end at the west end of Logan Street in Mission (you will see the gate to our property which lies below the mall at the Northeast corner of Lougheed and Cedar Connector).

If you can confirm you will be attending  that would be great, send us a quick email to let us know so we have enough supplies on hand. If you want to just decide and show up on the day, that is fine too – the more the merrier!

Another inspiring day at Windebank!

One of the best things about working in the conservation sector is witnessing first-hand the amazing ability of nature to rebound and the dedication of community volunteers to help out. This was reinforced to us yet again during our latest work party at Windebank Creek this past weekend…

Our great group of volunteers!

Our fantastic group of volunteers!

This salmon bearing stream in Mission has been continually impacted by us humans: it has been diverted from its original course to create enough land to build a shopping mall; its natural channel width has been limited by land use of the surrounding landscapes; it was illegally cleared of it riparian vegetation in 2008; it regularly experiences large amounts sediment and debris washing downstream during heavy rain events which alters the stream bed; and yet, the salmon continue to return to spawn every year!

It was great to have our regular volunteers return along with lots of new faces help us clean-up our section of Windebank Creek on Saturday. We continued our battle against the blackberry which will allow the native plants to establish themselves and eventually out-compete the blackberry. This will ultimately create a more diverse riparian habitat to shade the stream and provide habitat for non-aquatic species, and we can already see areas of improvement. We repaired sections of damaged fencing and removed a pick-up truck load of garbage from the site; we are installing sensitive habitat signage in an effort to dissuade the ongoing inappropriate use of this property.

We learned about the work the Mission of Stream Streamkeepers group has been doing monitoring the site (8 spawning Chum counted along this stream last week, and 37 the week before!).

Learning about the Mission of Streams Streamkeepers work!

Learning about the Mission of Streams Streamkeepers work!

A group of BCIT Ecological Restoration students have taken on the site for their project and will be doing all sorts of interesting surveys and restoration work on the site in the coming year. It is very exciting to see all the enthusiasm to help this site return to a functioning ecosystem.

BCIT students on their search to find out what kinds of salamanders might be on the site

BCIT students on their search to find out what kinds of salamanders might be on the site

Thanks everyone!

Volunteers needed for a Clean-up at Windebank!

It’s that time of year again!

We are looking for volunteers to help us clean-up our Windebank property on

Saturday November 14th from 10am to 2pm.

Removing blackberry near Windebank Creek

The salmon are currently spawning in the creek so it’s the perfect time to clear out some blackberry and observe these amazing fish!  We have had some good success fighting against the blackberry over the past year but this persistent plant will just not quit.  We are looking for volunteers to help remove blackberry and prune some of the native plants.  We will have some gloves and extra pruners on hand but if you can bring your own that would be great.  Please dress appropriately for the day – who knows what the weather will bring!  The ground can be quite mucky this time of year so rubber boots are recommended. We will also be removing some garbage from the property and will have appropriate safety gear for that activity.

This fall clean-up event will take place at the usual location: the dead end at the west end of Logan Street in Mission (you will see the gate to our property which lies below the mall at the Northeast corner of Lougheed and Cedar Connector).

We will have a guest speaker at lunchtime to talk about what the fish are currently up to in the creek.

If you can confirm you will be attending  that would be great, send us a quick email to let us know so we have enough supplies on hand. If you want to just decide and show up on the day, that is fine too – the more the merrier!

One more work party at Windebank before Winter sets in!

The rains have come, the weirs are working and the salmon are spawning!

Now all we need to do is plant another round of 80 cedar and alder trees in the recently cleared area so they are all ready to grow come next spring. Come join us on Monday, November 10th from 10am to 2pm to help plant and we’ll likely be cutting back the blackberry – yet again!

Al Jonsson, our project partner from DFO will be stopping in at lunchtime to see how the weirs are functioning and will talk about what the fish are currently up to in the creek.

All our work for this planting will be taking place well away from the stream but the ground is still really soggy so gumboots are highly recommended. Please dress appropriately for the weather – its November who knows what it will do! We will have lots of shovels on hand, as well as some extra gloves and pruners.  We will be at the usual location: the dead end at the west end of Logan Street in Mission (you will see the gate to our property which lies below the mall that is on the Northeast corner of Lougheed and Cedar Connector),

If you can confirm you will be attending  that would be great, send us a quick email to let us know so we have enough supplies on hand. If you want to just decide and show up on the day, that is fine too – the more the merrier!

Volunteers needed for snail surveys!

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We are looking for some volunteers to help complete snail surveys at our Three Creeks site in Abbotsford next week. The snail surveys involve sifting through leaf litter and under ferns.  Volunteers must be capable of bending or kneeling on the ground for 10 to 20 minutes at a time and not be afraid of a little rain! 

We will identify all snail and slug species that we find and mark endangered Oregon forestsnails and Pacific sideband snails for our mark recapture study.  We will also collect information on the vegetation found in each survey plot.

I would like to schedule a survey for Wednesday October 15 between 8am and 2:30pm and Friday October 17 between 8am and 4pm.  I would appreciate it if volunteers could contribute 4 hours of their time to this project but other than that timing can be flexible. 

Location: 
Three Creeks (meet at the east end of Ledgeview Drive off of McKeeRoad in Abbotsford).
Timing: 
Wednesday October 15, 8 am – 2:30 pm
Friday October 17, 8 am – 4 pm

If you are interested in participating please send Kendra an email (projects@fraservalleyconservancy.ca) or call the office at 604-625-0066.  If these times don’t work for you but you are interested in helping out send an e-mail anyways in case volunteers are needed for another time.

Attention salmon: great new digs for your offspring available in Windebank Creek!

We had a rewarding and productive weekend on Sept 13th and 14th, re-creating fish habitat in Windebank Creek. Forty-one hard-working volunteers came out and learned how to build fish habitat; together we constructed 7 Newbury weirs.  We also created shade structures above the pools that will form downstream of each new weir. We continued our ongoing battle with blackberry by cutting back the plants that incessantly try to take over the site. A huge thanks to all our returning volunteers as well as all the new faces – we couldn’t have done this without you!

In addition to the enormous volunteer contribution, this project was made possible through support from Pacific Salmon Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada staff, Mission of Streams Streamkeepers and a BC Hydro PowerSmart donation. Mainland Sand and Gravel donated the rock and the District of Mission donated the wood supplies.

Thanks Everyone!!!

The Mission Record took some great photos and below is a photo summary of the work done. The next event at Windebank will be in November, at which time we will embark on a final attack of the blackberry before winter and plant some cedar and alder trees in a few key areas. By that time we should be able to see salmon spawners using the new habitat.

 

Windebank Work Party this Weekend – September 13th and 14th

It looks like it is going to be sunny and we’re still looking for more helpers for the restoration work in Windebank Creek this weekend. Come help us out!

Here are the details…

The plan – 3 Shifts (volunteers can participate in as many shifts as they are comfortable with):

  1. Saturday 9:00 am to 12:00 pm  (lunch will be served for all participants between 12 and 12:30)
  2. Saturday 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm
  3. Sunday 9:00 am to 12:00 pm (hopefully we will be done at this time otherwise we will be working later this day as well)

The work:

  • we will be moving gravel, rocks and wood by hand, buckets and wheelbarrows to predetermined sites along the creek
  • our DFO project partner (Al Jonsson) will provide instruction on how to build each rock weir and wood complexes
  • volunteers will work in groups of 2 or 3 to build the structures (with help as required) – it is our goal to build at least 10 of these structures
  • for volunteers who are not comfortable lifting heavy objects or working in the stream we have lots of other tasks you can help us with such as much needed help with our ongoing battle to control the invasive plants on the property and general property maintenance tasks

What to bring:

  • Gumboots if you want to work in the stream, hiking or good shoes if you are going to stay out of the stream – NO OPEN TOED SHOES ALLOWED ON THIS PROPERTY for your safety reasons!
  • Dress for the weather, it looks like this lovely sunny stretch will continue through the weekend, so don’t forget sun protection and a water bottle (we will have a water jug on site for refills)
  • If you have gloves and pruners please bring them too – we have a few for people to borrow as well

Where to meet:

The dead end at the west end of Logan Street in Mission (you will see the gate to our property which lies below the mall that is on the Northeast corner of Lougheed and Cedar Connector.

Upcoming work on Windebank creek in Mission!

We are ramping up to do some exciting restoration work along Windebank creek where it runs through our conservation property in Mission in early September. This creek (and the salmon that use it) suffered a serious setback in 2003 when it was illegally logged after being historically diverted and channelized years prior . The surrounding land was donated to the FVC in 2011 and we have been working hard ever since to restore this site. We will be looking for lots of volunteers to help us out for the next phase of restoring this important habitat.

 

This year we have partnered with the Mission Streamkeepers group (Mission of Streams), Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and received funding support from the Pacific Salmon Foundation to help restore this degraded section of creek that provides valuable spawning and rearing habitat for Coho, Chum, and Cutthroat.

We will need a small army of volunteers to make this project happen in time for the salmon that are soon to return to spawn!

In particular we are looking for:

Volunteer Streamkeepers

Streamkeepers help with the invertebrate sampling (4-6 hrs) and fish sampling (1-2 hrs 2 days in row) and monitoring of stream health before and after the proposed works. Volunteers with a basic knowledge of invertebrates would be especially helpful but otherwise patience, curiosity and a willingness to get wet are a must for volunteers interested in this type of work. Diane will provide necessary training and supplies; this will be an ongoing monitoring project for the creek so it is best suited to residents of Mission who are looking for an ongoing commitment.

Restoration Volunteers

We will be needing lots of physically strong, enthusiastic and durable volunteers to help us with the in stream restoration work on the weekend of September 13th and 14th. We will be moving wood and rocks by hand into the stream, building weirs and improving the complexity of the stream bed.  This will make the creek more suitable as fish habitat. Training, supplies, and refreshments will be provided, volunteers just need to bring appropriate clothing, boots and work gloves as well as their muscles and a keenness to learn how restoration work is done first-hand!

If this sounds like something you would like to help us with please email us and we will follow up with additional instructions and details.