On the banks of Bowker Creek, a restoration project is underway.
For the past 20 years the Friends of Bowker Creek Society have been leading the charge to return the creek to its former glory after years of neglect.
“We do water quality monitoring, so over the years the water quality has improved even though it’s a degraded urban creek,” says Friends of Bowker Creek Society chair Soren Henrich.
“So we’re working with that, working to keep oil and silt out of the creek and pollution out of the creek and also water flows that have been improved by all of the rainwater infrastructure that’s been installed by municipalities.”
Last year marked a major step in the restoration process, with the society teaming up with the Peninsula Stream Society and the Goldstream Hatchery to place nearly 30,000 chum salmon eggs in the creek.
“All in all it was an extremely successful initiative,” says Peninsula Streams Society restoration coordinator Kyle Armstrong.
“I think we had about a 70 percent [survival] rate, so lots of salmon, lots of chum were able to make it out of the gravel and head out to the ocean.”
So for a second year the chum salmon eggs are returning, and with an increase in the salmon population, there’s also an increase in the eggs that will be placed.
“We had about 33,000 chum come back to the [Goldstream] river, which was a bumper crop for us,” says Goldstream hatchery technical advisor Peter McCully.
“So it allowed us to take more eggs than we would normally have and whereas last year we were able to provide about 28,000 eggs in one cassette or condo, this year we’ve got 36,000.”
With a 100-year-plan in place to restore the watershed, all parties involved will continue to revitalize a habitat which was once left for dead, in the hopes of seeing salmon return.