"Committed to the recovery of wild Pacific salmon in mid Vancouver
Island watersheds through habitat restoration and community engagement"
"Committed to the restoration of wild Pacific salmon in mid Vancouver
Island watersheds through habitat restoration and community engagement"

Newsroom

Friends of Shelly Creek Park Versus the Archangel

A  green invader is threatening the ecology of Shelly Creek Park!

 

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Lamium, also called Yellow Archangel, is taking over a large section of ground in the park and swallowing up Douglas Fir seedlings planted last year by City of Parksville employees, as well as Large-leaf Maple seedlings. Lamium is a common plant used in planters and flower beds and has been introduced by residents dumping garden waste in the park.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lamium Infestation in Shelly Creek Park                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Lamium is an invasive species found in shaded to partially shaded habitat including wooded areas. It can easily out compete natural ground covers. If it were to make it to where Shelly Creek flows through the park, it could out-compete the natural riparian vegetation needed for streambank stability and shade for the resident Cutthroat Trout

 

Lamiumremoval SueMVIHES volunteer and Arrowsmith Naturalist, Sue Wilson, lives beside the park and contacted Warren Payne, City Parks Supervisor, about the Lamium during the City of Parksville Open House down at the Community Beach. Warren already had the Lamium on his radar and was consulting with the Coastal Invasive Species Committee (Coastal ISC) to have it erradicated. If enough volunteers could be rounded up for pulling the Lamium, the use of an herbicide could be avoided. Sue succeeded in rounding up over 20 nearby residents and formed the Friends of Shelly Creek Park for a Lamium-pulling party. Fortunately, Lamium is easy to pull out and large open areas can be covered in cardboard to kill it and prevent it from spreading. The right-hand photo shows Sue breaking down donated cardboard boxes for covering some of the Lamium. She also baked dozens of delicious cookies for the volunteers. What an awesome lady!

 

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Between June 20 and 23rd, a total of 26 volunteers from Friends of Shelly Creek Park, Arrowsmith Naturalists, and MVIHES were led by Heidi Grant (Project Director) and Taylor Koel (Summer Environmental Technician) of Coastal ISC in removing approximately 90 bags of Lamium and laying down cardboard, for a total of 104 hours of volunteer labour. The first 60 bags were taken to the Waste Transfer station in a U-Haul rented by Heidi and Taylor, and the rest were taken by car. 

 

                                                                                                                                Taylor Koel (left), Heidi Grant (right) 

The photos below show some volunteers in action. On the left is Helen Davidson of Arrowsmith Naturalists who's probably thinking "This ain't no Field of Dreams". In the middle is strata member Diana Matsuda, and to the right is MVIHES volunteer Austin Peterson.

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Here is one of many Douglas Fir seedlings that were buried by the Lamium. Poor little tyke. You can see how a natural wooded area like Shelly Creek Park could be degraded by a carpet of Lamium.

 

 

 

 

                                                      And now for some dramatic Before and After shots. 

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Yes, the cardboard is unsighty but it's a great reminder of why we shouldn't dump our garden waste into natural areas. Also, when removing invasive species, either from your yard or a natural area, they must be placed in garbage bags and taken to the landfill section of the Waste Transfer Station where they will be buried deep so they can't return. Never compost or include invasive species in garden waste (unless you are using a composting service where vegetation is heated to temperatures that kill seeds and rhizomes, eg. Community Composting).

Many thanks to Sue Wilson, Warren Payne, Heidi and Taylor, and all the volunteers that came out to fight the Archangel. Work continues in the park to remove more of this invader. If you would like to help, you can send an email to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

The Latest News From MVIHES

Whether we're tracking Cutthroat Trout with scanners and antenna arrays in Shelly Creek, pruning a man-eating Raingarden at the Fire Hall, or observing Coho Salmon spawing on our latest fish habitat restoration project, there's never a dull moment with MVIHES.

Parksville Fire Hall Raingarden

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On November 9, fourteen volunteers pruned, clipped, and chopped  three truck and trailer loads (725 kg) of unruly vegetation from the Raingarden in front of the Fire Hall. This is in addition to the four loads we removed in March.

 

 

The Raingarden was built by MVIHES and the City of Parksville in 2012 and was planted with native vegetation. Over the following eight years it grew into an unsightly, impenetrable jungle and was unrecognizable as a Raingarden. Even the sign was swallowed up by vegetation. We've since learned that the Raingarden needs to be treated like a regular garden despite having natural vegetation.

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Now you can see individual plants. One more day of manicuring and the Raingarden should be transformed into something we can take pride in again. Some light pruning every year should keep it looking attractive. To read more about the Raingarden and its purpose, check out our last article on the Raingarden .

 

 

 Shelly Creek Cutthroat Trout PIT Tagging Study

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There are now 52 Cutthroat Trout with PIT Tags containing transponders for tracking the trout and determining their home range in Shelly Creek.The study has been ongoing since June and is lead by Ally Badger, a fourth year Biology student from Vancouver Island University. Ally has been using a scanner that looks like a metal detector to track the movements of the tagged fish, as seen in the left-hand photo. 

 

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Since our last article on the Shelly Creek PIT Tagging Study,  two antenna arrays have been installed in the creek that can pick up movements of the fish on a continual basis for several years. When a tagged fish swims over an array, the code in the PIT Tag is picked up and stored in a data collector along with the time and date of the event. This is an extension of Ally's study.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of two antenna arrays for tracking tagged trout.                                                                                                                                                            

The antenna arrays and data collectors are powered by four car batteries that are changed out by volunteers with a second set of charged batteries every two weeks. Due to the value of the equipment and its importance to the study, it's being guarded by a gang of Hobbits in a secure location in the Shire, so those thieving Goblins can just forget about searching for it. 

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                                                             Each array is connected to its own data collector                   Four car batteries power the arrays and data collectors

Ally will complete her field work in February 2022 and write up the findings in her fourth year thesis which she will present at a fisheries conference in Vancouver next June. 

 

Shelly Creek Habitat Restoration - Phase II

Great news about the 400 m of creek that was restored this summer on the Shelly Farm! About 25 Coho Salmon were observed spawning there on November 4, by our favourite Biologist, Dave Clough. Woohoo!

Below are photos taken in early September immediately after the completion of the restoration work compared with photos taken at the beginning of the rainy season. Notice how the grasses we seeded for erosion control have come up like "gang busters". For details on the restoration work, check out our last article.

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                                                        Restored creek bed in September                                                   Restored creek bed in November      

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                          Pond (created for refuge from summer drought) in September                                                    Pond in November

 

 That's all folks......for now. 

 

 

 

Shelly Creek Fish Habitat Restoration - Phase II Complete

This time last year we had just completed the Shelly Creek Fish Habitat Restoration project in Martindale Pond where over 30 truck loads of sediment and reed canary grass (an invasive species) were removed, restoring approximately 1000 m2 of overwintering habitat for Coho Salmon fry and smolts, and juvenile trout.

This year, fish habitat restoration work was completed on a 400 m section of Shelly Creek that flows through the Shelly Farm (located at Stanford Avenue in Parksville) before flowing into Martindale Pond and under Martindale Road on its way to the Englishman River. The restored section, shown between the two red lines on the map below, is also used as rearing habitat for Coho fry and smolts. The fish habitat restoration work was designed and supervised by our Biologist, Dave Clough.

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Decades of sediment from upstream sources had buried the creek, displacing habitat and enabling reed canary grass and that dreaded Himalayan blackberry to choke streamflow.  

 

 

 

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Shallow pools at risk of becoming oxygen deprived and too warm to sustain Coho fry were the only habitat in summer.

 

 

 

 

With a grant from the Pacific Salmon Foundation for $22,200, we hired Parksville Heavy Equipment (PHE) to excavate the sediment and invasive vegetation; re-establish the creek channel and deep pools; and add 80 cubic yards of gravel and rock to restore the aquatic habitat required for the bugs that the fry feed upon. The pools quickly filled with groundwater which means a water source for the creek had been cut off by the thick layer of sediment.The photos below illustrate the amazing job PHE did for us. What a transformation!! 

 creekxsection1creekbeddscreekbedupstream

 

 

 

 

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The excavated sediment was used to make a berm to help contain water in the stream channel during high flows and stop the flooding of the farmer's field every winter. The berm was contoured so rainfall will flow off evenly, preventing erosion. MVIHES volunteers seeded the berm with a fast-growing erosion control seed mix and covered it in straw to prevent the seed from being washed away by the rain. Shrubs were already beginning to regenerate on the berm and creek bank. 

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 Spreading straw: Pat Ashton, foreground; Carl Rathburn; Ryan Christie, way in back.                          Don McConnell                                                        

The other seed and straw spreaders were Chris Smith, Dick Dobler, Brian Lea, Shelley Goertzen, and Barb Riordan.

Like Martindale Pond last year, this project was Carl Rathburn's baby. Carl did the communicating with the owners of Shelly Farm, and organizing PHE and Dave Clough to get the party started.

In addition to Carl and the super spreaders, many thanks go out to:

Dave Clough (DR Clough Consulting):  project design and "Notification for Changes in a Stream"; erosion and sediment control; site restoration.

Ryan Christie, John Christie, and all the crew at Parksville Heavy Equipment: contractor for creek excavation and site restoration.

Murray and Shelly Laplante, landowners of Shelly Farm : granted permission for completing work on their farm. Provided straw bales.

Laura Terry, Community Advisor for Department of Fisheries and Oceans: supported project and submitted "Notification for Changes in a Stream".

 Barb Riordan, MVIHES volunteer: applied for PSF grant; took some pictures; bossed a few people around.

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