Jackson Wand

Waterways, fish health focus of Langley’s Rivers Day celebration

The long, hot, dry summer luckily didn’t have a negative impact on the local fish habitat.

With water and nature on everyone’s minds at the Langley Township-hosted BC Rivers Day festival Sunday, members of two of Langley’s most environmentally active groups reflected on the historic summer drought.

Langley and the rest of B.C. experienced one of the hottest, and driest, summers on record but luckily it didn’t have all that huge of an impact on the local fish habitat.

Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) executive director Nichole Marples said Langley has the benefit of having groundwater aquifers that offers base flows to local streams.

“So although we didn’t get a lot of rainfall, and the water levels were lower than normal, those base flows from the aquifers do provide that cold water, so we didn’t have quite so many, ‘fish are being stranded, you have to come and get them calls,’ as we actually expected that we would,” Marples explained.

“It was fairly on par with what we’ve had in the past.”

But if summer droughts become the norm, it will threaten the health of fish stocks, said Marples.

Nina Watt from the Raptor Ranch brought a Harris hawk with her to the BC Rivers Day celebration at Langley’s Derek Doubleday Aboretum on Sunday, Sept. 27. “If this continues over the long term, absolutely it becomes a concern,” she added. “If we’re getting those really high water temperatures with really low base flows, it messes with oxygen levels, as well, so then it makes it harder to sustain those tiny little fish that are in the streams.”

Nicomekl Enhancement Society treasurer Bob Knudsen echoed Marple’s thoughts.

“We have enough shade up there, that all the fry survived,” Knudsen said.

The society raises about 250,000 salmon fry each year.

“We catch the adults, take the eggs, fertilize them, we hatch them, we feed them for a while, and then we release them,” Knudsen explained.

Sunday’s free celebration included animal displays, facepainting, children’s crafts including dream fish painting, live entertainment, 25 interactive and activity booths, and a free hot dog and veggie dog barbecue put on by the Nicomekl Enhancement Society. It marked the first time it was held at the Derek Doubleday Aboretum after moving from its traditional location at Williams Park.


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