Dorothy Chambers, with the Salmon in the City program, counts returning salmon in Colquitz River.

Dorothy Chambers, with the Salmon in the City program, counts returning salmon in Colquitz River.

Celebrate the fall salmon run right here in Saanich!

Viewing and volunteer opportunities support salmon in the city

While many locals make the Goldstream salmon run part of their family’s fall calendar, did you know Saanich has its own salmon streams?

In fact, considerable efforts over the years by Saanich staff and local volunteers have helped restore several local fish-bearing ecosystems, with the aim of increasing the numbers of salmon returning to spawn.

“It’s these groups of volunteers, like Salmon in the City, that make a huge difference in our parks and streams,” says Rick Hatch, Saanich Parks assistant supervisor of natural areas.

See and support the salmon run in Saanich

Rick recalls working along the Colquitz River a few years ago during spawning season, and witnessing the coho completing their life journey in the Saanich stream. It was a big year for salmon returns that year and you could see and hear them making their way upstream.

“It was quite the experience!” he says, encouraging others to visit Saanich’s three viewing platforms – one at the fish fence in Cuthbert Holmes Park behind Montana’s restaurant, one at Mann Avenue, and another at Eastridge Crescent.

As we explore and support our environment, building our ‘Natural Intelligence’ along the way, Rick also encourages families to learn about the work undertaken by volunteer groups like Salmon in the City.

A Department of Fisheries and Oceans-funded project focusing on the Colquitz watershed, volunteers count the incoming spawning coho in each fall and also help with school classes and community members who come out each year to view the spectacle.

Other groups, like the Peninsula Streams Society, work to preserve stream restoration and habitat conservation on the Saanich Peninsula. Volunteers undertake projects ranging from invasive species removal and tree planting to water quality monitoring and education events, all designed to improve habitat and raise awareness of local watersheds.

Saanich also has its own Pulling Together volunteers who work with Saanich Parks on invasive species removal, which in turn supports restoration of the creek beds and riparian areas to improve the salmon habitat.

RELATED READING: There’s plenty fishy about these creek restoration efforts!

In addition to work on Colquitz River, from Cuthbert Holmes Park to Elk/Beaver Lakes, restoration work has included Swan Creek, in the Interurban/Viaduct area, and Douglas Creek, in Mt. Douglas Park, with the Friends of Mt. Douglas Park.

Park users and residents are also urged to protect fish habitat by respecting restoration efforts – staying on trails, respecting any fencing or signage indicating restoration efforts, and keeping dogs away from sensitive areas.

Learn more about Saanich Parks’ restoration efforts here.