Local fish groups repair trout steam, address salmon issues 

It’s a quiet weekday evening and a steady drizzle falls from the sky. Dark-green cedar trees reflect in a slow-flowing stream.

The weather might be a bit soggy but it didn’t dampen the spirits of more than 25 volunteers who turned out Tuesday to help repair riparian habitat along Jordan Creek.

According to Veronica Sommervile, a Whistler Fisheries Stewardship Group co-ordinator, the dirt trail on the west side of the creek is being closed due to erosion problems.

"It’s a bit of a problem because it allows access to the stream," she said, adding that the creek is prime habitat for rainbow trout. "Sediment can clog up their gills. It can be quite bad for the fish."

Split-cedar rail fences have been erected to limit access to the creek.

Like other urban streams, Jordan Creek – which runs from Nita Lake to Alpha Lake – is hemmed in by houses, roads, railway tracks and, here in Whistler, the paved Valley Trail.

Sommerville said a viewing platform – called a "fish blind" – will be built this summer along the Valley Trail to make up for the trail closure.

"It’s built in a way that people won’t disturb spawning fish," she told Pique Newsmagazine .

Sommerville said primetime spawning for the trout happens May though July. Volunteers have reported seeing as many as 35 fish in the creek at one time.

"We even saw a few (Tuesday) night," she said.

Sommerville also mentioned that trees will be re-planted on the creek banks near the Alpha Lake Park parking lot.

"Increasing riparian growth shades the creek, which helps regulate temperatures," she said, noting that both trout spawners and fry are sensitive to changes in water temperature.

In other fish tales, a local sport fishing advisory committee has been formed to represent the Squamish-Lillooet area.

The new committee – known as an SFAC – will cover waterways from Porteau Cove to Seton Lake, including the Lillooet River to where it meets Harrison Lake.

John Wright of Squamish is the chair, with Dave Brown of Whistler as his alternate.

The fish-friendly group was formed to provide the federal and provincial fisheries departments with up-to-date information about local sport fishing issues.

According to committee member Hugh Naylor, concerns about Birkenhead chinook, Gates River sockeye and Squamish River pink salmon were discussed at a recent meeting in Pemberton.

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