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…
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!).
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.