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The Department of Fisheries and Oceans established the Streamkeepers program in 1993, in response to the drastic reduction in the number of salmon returning to spawn each year in streams in developed areas. Streamkeepers stresses the importance of community stewardship for long-term protection of the environment. It encourages the hands-on involvement of local residents and industry in the management and rehabilitation of aquatic and streamside habitat, with special attention being given to those habitat features crucial to successful spawning.
Streamkeepers encourages sustainable watershed management through a number of practices:
Spanish Banks Creek is located on the far west side of Vancouver, where it runs out of Pacific Spirit Regional Park into English Bay. A productive run of salmon was destroyed when the creek was culverted over 50 years ago at the point where it left the forest and crossed below a road.
In the late 1990s local community members and government agencies began working together to daylight the creek, restore habitat, and rebuild salmon access to the watershed. In addition, local schools have been recruited to rear salmon fry from a nearby hatchery for release into the creek. This hard work has begun to pay off, with annual returns of hatchery reared chum and coho steadily increasing. In 2004, more than 65 chum returned to spawn in the creek, the first step towards rebuilding a sustainable indigenous salmon population.
Recent improvements to the creek include construction of a large pond area which will provide habitat for juvenile salmon before they head out to the ocean.
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