Volunteers Chris Bos and Barrie Goodwin show off a spawned out male coho salmon at the fish counting fence on the Colquitz river by Tillicum Mall last year

Saanich lauds volunteers for environmental work

Chris Bos doesn’t work to protect the Colquitz River for recognition. Neither do Barrie Goodwin and Dorothy Chambers.

Chris Bos doesn’t work to protect the Colquitz River for recognition. Neither do Barrie Goodwin and Dorothy Chambers.

But when a home heating tank leaked 1,000 litres of oil into the salmon-bearing watershed last November, the decade of labour the volunteers had put in was publicized, as all their work was  potentially in jeopardy.

It’s been seven months since the spill, which saw dozens of Coho die as they returned to the river to spawn, but Bos says despite the damage, the outlook is “fairly positive” for the river.

“We’re seeing life all along the creek,” he said. “Nature has a remarkable ability to bounce back. From the perspective of the Coho, their life cycle is like a five-year period, so it’s difficult to say whether there was any real big impact there or not. But right now it’s basically good news to pass on.”

Bos, Goodwin and Chambers were recognized by Saanich council on Monday with an environmental award for biodiversity conservation.

“It’s a way to honour those people that go above and beyond and do it for completely unselfish reasons. They do it for the greater good of the community, of Saanich, of other people, and I’m sure they do it for supreme enjoyment, too,” said Coun. Vicki Sanders, who chairs the environmental advisory committee. “I think it’s good to honour people who are being good environmental role models.”

“I’m very honoured to have the spotlight put on us for the work that’s being done. It’s not done for the pat on the back, but it’s always nice to be recognized,” Bos said. “It makes those winter mornings when you’re standing in the cold a little nicer.”

Also honoured Monday night were Judith Carder (individual citizen); Konukson Park Weedy Whackers (volunteer organizations); Heritage Office Furnishings Victoria Ltd. (business/commercial); Ecole Marigold elementary (youth/school group); Rex Welland (posthumous long-term achievement); and Copperfield Village (sustainability).

Bos is positive about the future of the creek, but it may be five years before they know if there are longer-term impacts.

He says fewer juvenile salmon were seen leaving the Colquitz in the spring than in year’s past, but adds that observation could be because the fish may have left earlier in the spring than usual.

He’s also noticed, anecdotally, that there are fewer crayfish and herons on the Colquitz, but he can’t say for sure whether that is attributable to the spill.

“There could be hundreds of reasons for these unusual events, but they don’t necessarily line up and point to the oil spill. There will be consequences if you put oil in a pristine environment,” Bos said. “You can’t have them in highly polluted environment – but Coho are amazingly resilient.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Free firework safety courses coming to the West Shore right before Halloween

No permit? You could be fined anywhere between $100 and $10,000

Fairfield-Gonzales residents aim to establish senior care phone line

The Fairfield-Gonzales Village would allow seniors living alone to have a direct line to resources

Vendors open doors to new futures at Black Press Extreme Education & Career Fair

More tham two dozen employers, educators signed on for Victoria event

Persons Day to be marked with literary readings in Sidney

Peninsula authors to read from their new books relating to women and courageous journeys, Oct. 18

Antimatter 2019: The best in experimental media art comes to Victoria

22nd annual festival of film, performance art and more biggest ever – 120 artists, 30 countries

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Dog killed in alleged hit and run, Goodlife Marathon takes over city and more

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Most Read