Fish and bikes – An educational insight

April 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

TORCA is filing an application with Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC) to undertake the stewardship of Eagle Mountain mountain biking trails. This project includes upgrading and maintaining the trails which are currently being used and eventually constructing new trails to better tie together the network. Our goal is a well-maintained sustainable network that provides public recreational mountain biking spaces.

To better understand how the activities on Eagle Mountain affect fish and wildlife, TORCA received a tour of both the Noons Creek and Mossom Creek hatcheries. Salmon stock drastically decreased in past years, in part caused by loss of habitat and increased urbanized developments [1]. This affects other species in our area too, including harbour seals, birds, and bears.

The hatcheries have been working for more than 20 years to restore salmon counts as well as protect riparian areas. Through their efforts, there are now once again salmon in Noons Creek and Mossom Creek. Their work has been substantial and is on-going.

 

Eagle Mountain is part of the watershed that includes Noons Creek and Mossom Creek. A riparian zone is land within 30 m from an aquatic body and is usually protected from development by provincial and federal laws (i.e., Water Act and Fisheries Act) [2]. As part of the stewardship application, TORCA has reviewed the potential impact of the Eagle Mountain trails on the water bodies. Our priorities include:

  • Protect creeks through proper and designated creek crossings
  • Prevent sedimentation in the creeks by minimizing trail erosion
  • Aim to preserve soil and plant life in riparian zones near trails
  • Increase understanding of potentially endangered wildlife and plant species

While the fish head downstream, the creeks themselves are affected by what happens upstream on Eagle Mountain, including our mountain biking trails. As part of TORCA’s application with RSTBC to steward the Eagle Mountain trails, we are committed to ensuring the longevity of the creek and riparian habitats.

How can you help?

  • Choose trails wisely in wet conditions! Questions about which trails are appropriate? Contact us at inf@torca.ca
  • Add trails reports on Trailforks! Fallen trees? Erosion and wear-and-tear on the trails? Broken ladder bridges? Disturbed creek crossing? All reports are reviewed by TORCA and concerns addressed as soon as possible
  • Volunteer with us! Come to our trail days and learn about proper trail building techniques.
  • Volunteer with the hatcheries! Both are completely run by volunteers. Sign up on their websites, help out, and learn more about our local environment and wildlife.
  • Support us! Can’t volunteer? Consider donating to fund our tools, signage on the mountains, and materials to build and maintain a sustainable network. All donations receive a tax-receipt at year’s end. Donate to TORCA
  • Be stream aware! Check out this article about restoration projects around Noons Creek.

Also, plan on attending the Fingerling Festival on May 6th from 11 am to 3 pm, where Noons Creek Hatchery will release 40,000 young salmon into the creek, where they’ll start swimming to the Pacific Ocean and eventually return for spawning in four years. The event is family-friendly, with lots of activities for kids of all ages.

References

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[1] Noons Creek website

[2] TEST document and website