Vancouver Island rivers and creeks will slow as dry weather continues

Vancouver Island rivers and creeks will slow as dry weather continues
WatchFLNRO officials are asking people to call the RAPP line if they see fish kills they think are a result of the hot, dry weather. Dean Stoltz reports.

The BC River Forecast Centre is predicting most rivers on Vancouver Island will see significant drops in water levels over the next 30 days.

The hot weather is resulting in a depleted mountain snowpack earlier than normal and rivers on the south and east Island will be affected the most.

The low flows will put pressure on fish stocks.

“This is very untypical for this time of year. Compared to the normal year this is probably a month or month and a half before we start to see these temperatures and conditions,” said Jaroslaw Szczot, Senior Aquatic Ecologist, Fish and Wildlife Division – West Coast Region Forest, Lands, Natural Resources Operations.

“Let’s hope that we don’t get into a series of these heat waves because if this heat wave was happening later in the summer there would definitely be some fish kills.”

Stream keeper organizations like Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society are concerned about smaller fish-bearing creeks and streams.

“We’re down 30 per cent for rainfall from early January to this point in Parksville,” said Peter Law, a biologist with MVIHES.

The group is concerned about Shelley Creek in Parksville, which is fed by springs and groundwater and is home to cutthroat trout. It is as low now as it should be in August.

“Water is not even flowing through what’s called riffles or shallow portions of the stream. We’re just seeing pools and they’re getting smaller and smaller,” added Law.

Provincial officials are expecting fish to die in the shallow, warm rivers this summer and are asking people to call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) if they see any significant numbers of dead fish that could be caused by the hot dry weather.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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