Seymour Salmonid Society is a non-profit organization that operates the Seymour River Fish Hatchery and Education Centre. We enhance salmon populations and encourage proper management of fisheries in the Seymour River. Our mission is to educate the public about the value of the Seymour River and the salmonids it supports as a resource for everyone living in British Columbia.
LOOKING BACK ON 2016
To our members and supporters:
Looking back at 2016, it’s been a challenging yet successful year for the Seymour Salmonid Society.
Staying on track with our mission statement we educated over 1300 elementary school children and over 300 teachers and parents through our Gently Down the Seymour program. We hosted a very successful Family Fishing Day event (see photo on right) on Father’s Day at Rice Lake. An event that introduces many children and their parents to the outdoors and fishing on the North Shore. Our Open House in September was well-attended by the public. Many electing to either sign up to volunteer or join the Society as a result of their introduction to the staff and the Board of Directors at the hatchery within the beautiful watershed.
The fisheries enhancement work that was undertaken in 2016 included broodstock collection, incubation, and fry releases of coho, pink, chum, and steelhead that we have become known for by other stream-keeping groups and salmon enhancement societies. Angling was a significant contributor to broodstock collection in the early spring/summer and late fall. The addition of the fish fence in August in the lower reaches of the river was significant for being able to capture fish and move them above the slide and to the hatchery. A total of approximately 400 fish (coho and steelhead) were moved to the upper river (above the slide) to spawn naturally. Approximately 300 fish (coho, chum and steelhead) were brought to the hatchery for broodstock.
The floating fish fence (photo left) was a big project that involved many volunteers, DFO, Metro Vancouver, and both Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. All contributing in fabrication, installation and operation of the fence. We learnt a lot this year and will make minor adjustments moving forward. We are interested to see what numbers we get at the fence when it is in for the duration of next year’s run.
The major issue for the Society this year, and certainly the most challenging was fundraising and managing the Rockslide Mitigation Project. We have had to focus a great deal of our staff and volunteer time on facilitating every aspect of the project. Everything from fundraising and accounting to aiding fish passage upstream and downstream of the slide.
Work to reshaping the rockslide began in August. An opening ceremony to mark the official beginning of the project was held on August 24th and included all project supporters, funders and members of the media (photo of event below).
Contracted crews were successful in completing 7 weeks of drilling and 5 blasting events during the work window, more than previously anticipated. The Society was very satisfied with the quality and amount of work done by Global Rock Works, NHC Consultants, BGC Engineering and Apex Equipment Ltd.
We have worked very closely with and would like to thank all of our partners for their efforts in providing funding, and volunteer time, diligently helping with transporting fish. Also, for their overall support of the Society, and fish on the Seymour. In no particular order, I would like to recognize Pacific Salmon Foundation, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program, Squamish Nation, Metro Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, The BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the BC Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, the North Van Firefighters Charity, the BC Sport fishing Guides Association, The Coho Society, The Drift Fishers of BC, The Outdoor and Recreational Council of BC, Steelhead Society of BC, Save-on Fuels, BC Institute of Technology and the Rivers Institute, and the many volunteers, without whom we could not achieve all the activities and projects that we have undertaken as stewards of the Seymour.
Progress also continued on the Seymour River Estuary project this year. The Society and Rivers Institute completed bank neutralization and stabilization work on the east bank of the estuary, on the Allied side of the bay. This phase of the project was to mitigate the erosion that was taking place. It included adding soil and gravel to the bank and placing woody debris structures in both low and high tide areas. The slope was then planted with riparian species and cedar hedges. We plan on continuing this important work in the coming years to ensure that the estuary is as fish-friendly as possible (photo left).
I would like to acknowledge the work of the members of the Board and staff for all their extra time and efforts put forward this year. It truly has been a challenging year, and I believe everyone has stepped up to the challenge and that the Society is stronger for it.
The Board suffered a great loss in September with the passing of Eric Carlisie (photo left). Eric was one of the founding members of the Society and was an incredible advocate for rivers and fish. He will be greatly missed. I would also like to mention and thank the Directors and that have moved on from the Society over the past year. Alex Milojkovic and Danielle Allyen spent many years serving on the Board, and I wish to thank them all for their time, dedication, and efforts over the years. We have recently added new members to the Board of Directors. We are excited to welcome Graeme Budge, Thomas Jackman, Kyla Jeffery, Jen Sibbald and Brian Halabourda, we look forward to working with them.
We have had some changes to staff as well. Sasha Gale joined the staff last January, she is covering Sharee Dubowits’ (our Volunteer Co-ordinator) Maternity leave. Congratulations to Sharee on her healthy baby girl! Brian Har (our Seasonal Employee) returned this year and has been an excellent returning addition to the team. We have also had the additional support from Todd Moody (Squamish Nation) and Colin Rawlinson (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) to help at the fish fence, with stream monitoring and at the hatchery. They have been a big help with all the additional work load related to the Rockslide Project.
On behalf of the staff, and members of the Board, I would like to thank you for your support in 2016, and welcome your involvement in 2017 as we continue with fisheries enhancement on the North Shore.
We say goodbye to 2016 under many feet of snow.
LOOKING FOR A NEW TREASURER ON OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Society is in need of a new Treasurer to join our volunteer Board of Directors. The treasurer works alongside staff with budgeting and financial reporting. If you have accounting experience and are eager to help please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding the details of the position.
LOOKING FOR NEW VOLUNTEER BOARD MEMBERS
The Seymour Salmonid Society is looking for volunteers to join the Board of Directors. We are currently seeking volunteers with skills in accounting and non-profit management. If you are interested, please attend the SSS AGM next Tuesday night (details below), or contact the Society (email@example.com).
New Circular Tubs
Thanks to funding from Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) we were able to purchase and install new circular tubs for the Seymour hatchery. This will help us with the increased capacity due to the rock slide. They look great and they are already being used by coho broodstock.
THANK YOU PSF!
ROCK SLIDE UPDATE
Work began to mitigate the Seymour River rock slide on August 22nd and continued for 7 weeks before being suspended by high water flows. Work entailed roughly a week of drilling into the boulders at the downstream end of the slide, followed by a day of rock breaking. Five breaking sessions took place over the 7 weeks (to see a video of a blast go to the rockslide page). Over the last week river level rose dramatically in the river. We are looking forward to seeing (when the water levels drop) how the newly broken boulders have moved and reshaped the area with the high velocity water.
Video of the high water flowing through the slide area. Sorry for the poor quality but it gives a good idea of the water velocity through the canyon.
Eric Carlisle: 1946 to 2016
We regret to announce that Eric Carlisle passed away Sunday 25th September as a result of complications following what was anticipated to be a routine surgical procedure. Eric was one of the founding members of the Seymour Salmonid Society in 1987, and continued to serve on the board as secretary until his death. His invariably pleasant demeanor masked a true passion for fish: in addition to serving on the board of the Seymour Salmonid Society he worked with SEHAB and several other fisheries organizations. He was an expert fisherman and wrote a book on the subject titled “West Coast River Angling”: he also for a time wrote a fishing column for the Vancouver Sun. He was sometimes referred to as “Rainman” in reference to his remarkable memory: for example, it seemed he was able to recall the date, time, river conditions and many other details concerning every fish he had ever caught. He will be missed.
PLEASE REPORT ALL POACHERS AND POLLUTERS
We have had issues as of late with poachers snagging fish below the fish fence in the lower Seymour River.The Seymour River is closed to angling from the railway bridge to the Seymour falls dam because of conservation concerns due to the rock slide. If you see people fishing on the river please call: Observe Record Report (ORR) at 1-800-465-4336 and/or Report All Poachers and Polluters (R.A.P.P.) 1-877-952-7277.
Listen to Brian Smith, Hatchery Manager talk to Steven Quinn on the CBC Early Edition this morning, August 22nd.
Fry Releases in the Seymour Watershed
Last month over a 100,000 coho fry were released into habitat areas above and below the Seymour Falls Dam. Good luck little guys!
THE FLOATING FISH FENCE IS IN!
After a lot of hard work the fish fence has been constructed and installed. Not operational yet but in place and ready to go. We plan to start catching fish mid July, some will be kept for hatchery broodstock and the rest will be moved above the rock slide to spawn naturally. THANK YOU to all the volunteers that came and spent many hours working with us on this project. Thank you to Tsleil Waututh and Squamish Nations staff for your hard work and putting up with the loud noise next to the Band office. Another big thank you to DFO staff for your technical support and guidance thus far.
The Vancouver Sun Article,
‘Super-historic’-scale salmon rescue making waves in North Vancouver’s Seymour River
can be read here
To see more pictures visit our Facebook page.
GENTLY DOWN THE SEYMOUR WRAPS UP ANOTHER GREAT YEAR!
A big THANK YOU to the 2016 Gently Down the Seymour Education Team for sharing their passion and expertise with over 1500 school visitors this spring! Student highlights included wearing chest waders, collecting aquatic invertebrates and feeding salmon fry.
Follow us on Instagram for more program photos @seymoursalmon.ed #seymoursalmon
OUR EDUCATION PROGRAM ‘GENTLY DOWN THE SEYMOUR’ HAS KICKED OFF FOR 2016
Gently Down the Seymour is off to a terrific start in 2016! Students, teachers and parents from Vancouver and Burnaby classes joined us during the first week of field trips. One class was lucky enough to observe the collection of eggs and milt from winter steelhead! These grade 2 students collected an aquatic invertebrate sample from Hurry Creek to investigate further in our classroom.
BC NATURE KIDS TOUR THE HATCHERY AND FOREST
Nature Kids BC (Vancouver Club) visited Seymour River Hatchery in February. Kids and parents discovered the salmon species supported by Seymour River Hatchery and viewed coho, steelhead and pink salmon fry in rearing ponds. A guided walk through neighbouring old growth forest to Seymour River provided the opportunity to learn how important salmon are to a forest ecosystem.
JANUARY 19, 2016
The 2016 season is underway! We will continue to use our dedicated broodstock anglers to help bolster our stock on hand and eventually move excess above the slide. Please note that anglers are operating under Federal and Provincial scientific collection permits – there is no public retention of steelhead in the Seymour River.
Depending on river conditions, we may augment these efforts with more tangle-netting sessions. Keep an eye on your email for upcoming volunteer opportunities on the river! If you are not on our email list, you can sign up to receive all volunteer opportunities by email by filling out our volunteer form.
The floating fish fence is set to be installed in the spring of this year. The fence will be operational approximately six months
of the year until passageway through the slide can be restored. It has the potential to provide us with high-precision stock assessment data for all migratory species in the river which will allow us to manage the Seymour more effectively.
An agreement in principle regarding a permanent mitigation method for the rockslide has been reached by Seymour Round-Table members from six levels of government including Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Metro Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, Squamish First Nations and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
Northwest Hydraulic Consultants and BGC Engineering will re-shape the slide debris with scaling crews, low-velocity explosive rock-breaking and river flows. The method uses non-conventional rock breaking techniques and will require limited heavy equipment. River hydraulics will redistribute 10 000 – 20 000 m3 of material into a gradient that can be utilized by all salmon species. This method would be the safest and least disruptive to the surrounding ecosystem and will likely take between two and five years.
Our vision statement for the Seymour Rockslide Mitigation Project is
“To restore migration conditions for all species in the Seymour River that existed before the 2014 rockslide, in a safe and sustainable manner.”
This project will require a large amount of funding. We have applied to a number of grants to help assist us in this matter. To donate directly to the rockslide mitigation efforts, please click the Fundraise for the Rockslide button on the right-hand side of this page.
Our next step is to host a public forum. Details will be posted here once they have been confirmed.
SALMON COLLECTION & TAGGING PROJECT
On December 7, 2014, a rock fall estimated at 50,000 cubic meters, impacted the Seymour River, at a location at the upstream end of the lower canyon. The debris field from this slide raised the water level in the river some 10 meters creating
a blockage to downstream-migrating juveniles and upstream-migrating adult salmon. The upper Seymour River, above the rock fall, contains the large majority of the productive salmon habitat in the watershed, and therefore there are justified concerns about the health of the Seymour River salmon run in coming years, if migration past the rock fall is not restored. In fact, coho and steelhead could be reduced to remnant populations by as early as 2019 if we are unable to mitigate the effects of the slide.
To scientifically confirm whether or not fish are able to pass through the debris, juvenile steelhead were acoustically tagged and adult coho and steelhead were radio tagged. Pacific Salmon Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, UBC, Kintama & Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC contributed emergency funding and equipment for the tagging programs. Receivers were placed at both the downstream and upstream end of the slide and mobile trackers were deployed. To date no fish have been detected by fixed or mobile receivers.
Snorkel surveys conducted in July of 2015 confirmed that a number of fish were holding in two pools directly below the slide debris.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is working in partnership with the Seymour Salmonid Society, Metro Vancouver, Squamish Nation, Tsleil Waututh Nation and North Vancouver District, to attempt an emergency rescue effort to capture returning salmon in the lower Seymour River. Salmon recovered from these efforts will be placed in transport tanks and transported to the Seymour River Hatchery until target broodstock numbers are achieved. Surplus fish will be released directly into the upper Seymour River, above the slide and below the dam.
Initially, a PVC and net trap was set up in the lower river adjacent to the Squamish Nation Band Office. High-water events due to summer storms thwarted these methods and hoop nets and seine
nets were quickly put to use. These methods proved highly successful for pinks, but staff was forced to adapt once again for coho and steelhead. Tangle nets and angling is currently being used to capture fish out of the lower river with good success.
All 2015 in-river work is done with hand labour and does not require heavy machinery access this season. Vehicle access in close proximity to the river bank near the capture sites may be necessary, given that all trap materials and captured salmon must be moved by hand from and to transport vehicles. Captured salmon will be moved by field crews to the transport tanks daily depending on capture success in the river trap.