Young salmon and trout now have more room to grow at Kanaka Creek Regional Park in Maple Ridge, thanks to a habitat enhancement project – and helping hands from the community.
The habitat expansion project began in 2015, after Metro Vancouver purchased a 4.7-hectare parcel of land that protects Thornvale Creek – a tributary of Kanaka Creek. The property contained three artificial ponds, offering the potential to provide shaded still pools for juvenile fish. In order to expand the fish habitat, parks biologists designed a project that would:
- Install an intake to connect the creek to the ponds
- Install channels to connect all the ponds
- Construct a small hand-built fish ladder to let juvenile fish access the ponds
- Establish more than 800 native plants around the ponds to provide shade for fish and habitat for wildlife
By the time students from Take a Hike Foundation had tamped the dirt around the last plant, the area had been transformed into 800-square metres of prime overwintering habitat for salmon and trout, as well as other species including salamanders and frogs.
This past fall, when local students and Regional Parks staff returned to the ponds, they found both coho salmon and cutthroat trout – the best measure of success one could hope for.
The project was supported by Pacific Parklands Foundation, with a grant from the Pacific Salmon Foundation.