Salmon rearing ponds
We built and now maintain salmon rearing ponds in Hay Park (2004) and Memorial Park (2013). The ponds shelter young coho for the year they spend in their natal creek before migrating to the ocean. These projects also help raise awareness of the importance of creeks in West Vancouver for salmon rearing.
The Centennial Rearing Pond, located in Memorial Park on McDonald Creek and initiated in 2012 to coincide with West Vancouver’s Centennial, is an amenity and improvement to the park.
Learn more: Project overview or opening ceremonies video
Working in collaboration with the District of West Vancouver, and with assistance from the community, we completed design and civil engineering work, all from in-kind donations. In addition, we raised approximately $100,000 to cover the cost of construction.
The project was completed in 2012 and features a viewing bridge, seating area with benches and interpretive signage, gravel trail and split-rail fence.
Fish passage improvement
Lawson Creek provides good spawning and rearing habitat for coho salmon primarily, as well as chum and pink salmon, and for cutthroat trout.
We have initiated several projects in recent years to improve fish passage on Lawson Creek, including a metal fish ladder near 18th Street and Duchess Avenue. Over the years, however, winter storm flows damaged the metal ladder beyond repair, making the steep section of creek at this location impassable to adult coho.
In 2016 we initiated a project to replace the damaged ladder with a robust concrete structure. Completed in September 2016, the new fish ladder has deep boxes and a low gradient, enabling coho to once again reach upstream spawning habit each fall.
The new ladder also assists juvenile coho. After a year living in the stream, the young salmon can easily migrate to the ocean, where they spend another year and a half before returning to spawn.
The project was completed in collaboration with the District of West Vancouver and funded entirely through grants and in-kind contributions arranged by Streamkeepers.Learn more
Lawson Creek and McDonald Creek provide essential spawning habitat for wild Pacific salmon, including chum and pink salmon but predominantly coho.
For years, however, the lack of a defined channel through the rocky estuary and into the ocean restricted access to the creek by returning salmon. Salmon attempting to spawn from mid-October to late December could only access the creek during the highest ocean tides, which occur for only a few hours every two weeks.
To remedy this situation, we worked in collaboration with the District of West Vancouver to construct a channel through the intertidal zone at both creeks. Returning salmon can now reach their spawning grounds daily during a much broader range of tides.
Our estuary enhancement projects, moreover, complement ongoing work by the District of West Vancouver to protect the shoreline and prevent waterfront erosion. Sand and gravel delivered by both creeks are building up the beach naturally, improving public access to and use of the beach area.
The estuary of Lawson Creek was modified in 2007 and we have since seen a significant increase in the number of salmon entering the creek. The McDonald Creek project, completed in 2014, improved the estuary with an 80-metre channel. To learn more about our McDonald Creek project, see the project timeline images at this virtual tour.
In September 2015 we completed the Rodgers Creek Estuary Enhancement Project. The aim is to improve creek access and egress for salmon and to protect the nearby shoreline from further erosion.
Salmon-friendly improvements to the estuary include a 65-metre channel through the intertidal zone, providing returning salmon better opportunities to reach their spawning grounds over a broad range of tides. Additionally, rock features and large woody debris were added to disrupt waves and stabilize beach sediments. Project drawing and photos.
Construction of these projects was made possible by the generosity of our supporters.
In September 2017 we completed a smaller but similar estuary enhancement project at the mouth of Larson Creek near Gleneagles Golf Course. Boulders were donated by British Pacific Properties and brought to the site by barge. Placement of the boulders by excavator has created a defined creek path through the intertidal zone to assist passage of returning adult salmon from the ocean into Larson Creek. The boulders also keep drifting logs from blocking the creek mouth, since they tend to become “perched” above the flow of the stream.