Bringing Salmon Back to Bowker Creek

by OB 2020-15

As a learner, I was interested in seeing what it would take to bring back salmon to Bowker creek and how it would change the creek itself. In this project, I have taken entries from other playlists and turned them into one.

How Bowker creek was changed
Many years ago, Bowker Creek was channeled into pipes to reduce the risk of flooding the surrounding areas. Although no more flooding took place after the creek was in pipes, the creek was no longer functioning as a healthy creek. Recently the CRD (Capital Regional District) day-lighted a section of the creek near Oak Bay High School.

When Bowker creek had salmon
Before the areas around Bowker creek being urbanized, it was very different. Bowker creek was more biodiverse and was covered in plant life. It also flowed more naturally without concrete barriers alongside it. There were also not any nearby roads or any harmful activity near the creek. Overall, Bowker creek was completely natural and had was reliant on carrying and disposing water around Victoria.

Why did  the salmon leave
Over the years the creek has been demolished and damaged too much causing the creek to lose its natural state. Because of the dump that was put in the middle of the creek, there was no way for the salmon to reach the ocean/ the creek causing the salmon population to have nowhere to go through their life cycle, meaning the salmon would die before laying eggs, which resulted in less and less salmon coming back until there were none. Thankfully, years later the dump was covered up and Fireman's Park was built on top.  When doing this they moved the creek so that the waters could connect with the ocean

Why are salmon important
Salmon and freshwater ecosystems are inextricably linked by feedback between salmon runs, food webs, and riparian forests. Salon runs function as enormous pumps that push vast amounts of marine nutrients from the ocean to the headwaters of otherwise low productivity rivers.

A salmons diet
1In 1 playlists
A salmon's diet mostly consists of plankton, other fish, insects, shrimp, and squid. It depends on where the salmon is (freshwater or saltwater) and what is available as prey.

A salmons predators
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Salmon have lots of predators; in freshwater streams, their main predators are other fish, birds, and even other salmon. They can easily be eaten when they are fry (just after being hatched). When they reach the ocean they have larger predators to be aware of like whales, seals, orcas, other fish, and their largest predator humans.

What kind of salmon were in Bowker
There where two main types of salmon that ran through Bowker Creek when it was a salmon run; Chum Salmon and Coho salmon. Chum salmon and Coho salmon are both part of the anadromous salmon family and hatch in freshwater streams. Though once hatched they move out towards saltwater oceans to feed and don't usually stay in freshwater for very long but return to spawn.

Could salmon be released back into Bowker
It would be an interesting experiment if we raised salmon in our classroom and released them into Bowker Creek to see if they could withstand the creek ecosystem. There are stickleback fish that can survive in the creek ecosystem could the fry (baby salmon) survive in Bowker Creek?

Obstacles in Bowker for salmon
There are many culverts in the creek. Some of them such as the one under fireman's park are too steep for the salmon to get up so a fish ladder would need to be installed. 

Is it realistic
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In my opinion, this is a realistic goal. even though it won't happen anytime soon, with enough money and support from the community and government this could happen.