British Columbia·Photos

Salmon released into recently restored Burnaby creek

A group of daycare children joined Mark Angelo the chair emeritus of the BCIT Rivers Institute to release thousands of juvenile salmon into Burnaby's Guichon Creek Tuesday.

'To see, in effect, tiny people releasing tiny salmon, it doesn’t get any better than that'

BCIT Rivers Institute chair emeritus Mark Angelo and his grandson, Tucker, release tiny juvenile chum salmon into Burnaby's Guichon Creek. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

A group of daycare children joined Mark Angelo the chair emeritus of the BCIT Rivers Institute to release thousands of juvenile salmon into Burnaby's Guichon Creek Tuesday, demonstrating how successful creek restoration efforts have been in recent decades.

"This creek was severely damaged a few decades ago. It could not sustain any fish, but there's been a real effort to bring it back," said Angelo. "That we can release salmon today, back into this creek, I think that highlights the fact that we can, in fact, restore a waterway if there's a will."

Angelo said when he first saw Guichon Creek in the 1970s, it was little more than a polluted waterway that couldn't sustain any fish.

"The water quality in this creek was terrible," he said. "It couldn't sustain any fish. Much of the shrubs and the forest that you now see beside the creek did not exist back then."

Two children in a daycare group take a close look at some of the juvenile salmon before releasing them nto Burnaby's Guichon Creek on Tuesday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

In the time since then, efforts have been made to restore the vegetation and about 15 years ago, Angelo said, a trout fishery was reintroduced to the creek. Last year was the first time salmon were put back into the water that runs through the BCIT campus.

Angelo said Tuesday's seeding of the creek with 15,000 juvenile salmon was extra special to him personally, because his grandson Tucker was one of the children helping to dump the little salmon into the babbling brook.

Guichon Creek, which runs through BCIT's Burnaby campus, is now enveloped in healthy trees and vegetation. A trout fishery was reintroduced to the creek about 15 years ago and now salmon are on their way back. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

"He and I walk along this creek all the time," said Angelo. "I'm sure it's something he'll always remember."

"To see, in effect, tiny people releasing tiny salmon, it doesn't get any better than that."

Angelo said only one or two per cent of the salmon will survive, but he hopes that in four years, the children will be able to return to Guichon Creek to see those mature salmon returning to spawn.

A group of daycare children donned their rain gear and boots to help release salmon into the recently rehabilitated Guichon Creek in Burnaby. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

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