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The latest Sargeant Bay Society Newsletter has the lineup for spring and summer events for 2024 and updates on maintenance and control programs. The Sargeant Bay Society is a non-profit organization that acts as environmental stewards to promote conservation of the natural habitat of Sargeant Bay and its neighbouring watersheds.  Learn more about the natural history of the park and the work being done to protect this ecologically sensitive habitat as well as enjoy the opportunities to appreciate the nature right in our own backyard. Visitors and guests are also welcome to join in any of the educational events or work parties.

Berm Invasive Species and Trail Clean-up – May 14th

A spring clean-up of the berm and foreshore is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14th. Bring your gloves, rakes, pitch forks, cutters, hedge trimmers, etc for an 0900 start. Meet on the berm.

Birding on the Berm – May 26th

A great opportunity to learn about birds that frequent the park. Join Tony Greenfield at 0900 hrs for the Sargeant Bay Society annual birding walk from the upper parking lot. Looking–and listening– for migrants as the spring moves into summer and the breeding season gets fully underway. Woodpeckers, vireos, flycatchers, swallows, rails – who knows what might show up.

Botany Walk – May 5th, 1000 hrs

Kye Goodwin, our local botany expert, will once again visit the trails and forest of the Breadner Loop. Roadside parking is available on Truman Road a few hundred metres after leaving Brooks Road. Sturdy footwear is a must, and a walking stick for those so inclined. Hopefully by doing this hike a bit earlier than in past years, at least some of the flowers will be in fine form.

Intertidal Exploration – Jul21, 1030-1230 hrs

Once again LeeAnn will offer her expertise in all things intertidal. Bring the kids, grandkids, grandparents, (maybe not the dog) to the Park and explore the intertidal area for sea stars, ghost shrimp, sand lance, maybe even a herring. Buckets will be provided or bring your favorite one.

Critter Dipping with Donna Giberson

Concurrent with the intertidal exploration, Donna, Professor Emerita in entomology and freshwater ecology from the U. of PEI, and Rand Rudland, will bring their field microscopes to explore the wonders of the marsh environment looking for those species only visible with microscopy, like this copepod from Smuggler Cove. (Photo RR)

Fish Ladder Replacement

Beaver Deceiver

Beaver Deceiver

Fish ladder replacement finally going ahead this summer. Fabrication of the fish ladder by Key Mill Construction Ltd. In Ladysmith is now completed and ready for transport from the Island to the SC. The photos (left) show the new all-metal design, including the so-called “beaver deceiver” pipe structure which will (hopefully) prevent total blockage of the lake outflow and reduce the risk of damage to the structure during high-flow events. All of this has been designed by Kirby Reitze and his team of DFO engineers in the Nanaimo office.

The installation date is now set for the week of August 6-10th to accommodate tides and the salmon window. **Due to the presence of heavy equipment operating in the berm area of the Park, there will be a total closure of the lower reaches of the Park for the duration of the installation to all except those involved in the project.


Trail Maintenance on Triangle Lake Trail

bridge repairElyse Guzek of BC Parks provided all the materials and joined SBS volunteers Jeff Muckle, Dan Sklazeski, Rick Walters, Marcia & Ward Tinney, and Michael Miller to rectify a major flooding issue on the lower falls loop portion of the Triangle Lake Trail. The existing culvert was continuously becoming blocked by gravel and debris during high rainflow events to the point that the culvert was non-functional. As can be seen in the photos below, the stream bed has now been bridged by a raised wooden bridge that will not be affected by increased water flow below. Great work to the crew that provided 24 hrs of volunteer labour to the project, and thanks to BC Parks for providing all the required materials.

Salmon Monitoring Updates

salmon in fish ladderLast fall, salmon in Sargeant Bay began to make their way through the estuary and up the fish ladder for the first time on October 18th. Salmon were again sighted in the fish ladder, Colvin Lake and Colvin Creek in late October and late November. Fish of course often make it up the ladder in the night or other times when they are not easily observed. High or rising tides with a good amount of rain give the best chance to see the returning salmon. Jeff Muckle saw the last salmon in Colvin Creek on December 20th. There was a mix of Coho and Chum salmon seen. Not big numbersbyanymeans. It is a positive that fish are still returning, but hopefully the low number can start to increase. The low return numbers are likely due to the fact the fish ladder was washed out twice during the huge rain events a few years ago. Fish ladder repairs did hold up well last fall…so did allow fish to return.

A group of six Sargeant Bay Streamkeeper volunteers worked to keep the fish ladder clear and also make daily observations for returning salmon. The duties by the Streamkeepers were done daily from October 15th to Dec. 31st last year. More volunteers are always needed for streamkeeping duties in the Park, so if you live in the area and can spare a half hour once a week in the fall please message the Sargeant Bay Society.

Invasive Species Control Program

Once again this summer SBS volunteers will continue efforts to control the spread of this Yellow Flag Iris within the wetland ecosystem. It is hoped that there will be some BC Parks assistance for future efforts to control this species.