The latest salmon returns are in for 2023 and two streamkeepers from the region have made observations about the different populations. A great year for Pink Salmon was the good news. Poor returns for Chum were noted by both streamkeepers.Continue reading How the Salmon Run: Streamkeepers weigh in on latest salmon returns
Part 2 of a series, click here for part 1.
Cortes Currents was mistaken in the original version of this story. The Chum run did not come into Basil Creek early this year – these are Pinks.
According to Cortes Island Streamkeeper Christine Robinson there have not been any Pink runs on Cortes since 2015 (when most of them perished in front of the culvert in Squirrel Cove), but there was a huge surplus this year. Pinks are known to stray and find creeks other than their natal streams, and this may be an explanation for their presence on Cortes Island. They started to turn up in Squirrel Cove Creek two to three weeks ago, and Basil Creek and Chris’ Lagoon around Sept 28, but there does not appear to be enough water in the creeks for them.Continue reading Pink Salmon return to Cortes after 8 years, but water levels are too low
Part 1 in a series of articles about the Fall 2023 Salmon runs; Click here for Part 2.
Very little water is trickling through Basil Creek, where Cortes Island’s principal Chum run occurs in late October. There have been few days of rain on Cortes since May, and some of the area’s shallow wells stopped producing in July. Only about 10 Chum were seen in Basil Creek during the 2022 drought. Unless water levels rise, this may be the second year in a row when there is not a significant creek for the Chum return.
According to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, BC is going through ‘one of the most extreme periods of drought in recorded history.’Continue reading Will the heavy rains come in time for this year’s Chum run in Basil Creek?
Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
High atop a dike hemming the Koksilah River as its fresh waters meet salt, red-winged blackbirds call out as they patrol their territory.
Noisy heralds of spring, the blackbirds return to the Cowichan Estuary each year to nest and protest human intrusion with sharp signature trills from the brush along the riverbank.
Today the interloper is Tom Reid, conservation land management program manager with the Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC), who stands atop the 15-foot-high rock embankment he is working to destroy.
The dike, built to fortify farmland stolen from the estuary, is stifling the tidal marsh vital to the survival of a host of endangered salmon and bird species that rely on it for breeding, feeding and migration, he said.Continue reading Saving the Cowichan Estuary from drowning in a climate-fed ‘coastal squeeze’
It is November 26 and there are still no Chum Salmon in Basil Creek. Normally they would have returned a month ago, but there was a prolonged drought this year. While the water level has risen, there are still no fish.
“It’s getting to be late for Chum, but we’re seeing other populations come in late. We might see Chum return into the next few weeks, it’s very possible. This year is definitely characterized by a lot of weird conditions,” said Matthew Clarke, DFO’s Head for stock assessment in North Vancouver Island, from Black Creek to Cape Caution (which is actually on the Mainland). His area also includes Cortes and Quadra Islands.Continue reading No Chum in Basil Creek yet, but the outlook for salmon may be improving