Wild Salmon Survival Threatened in Chapman Creek Due to Low Water Flows
Low Water Levels Threaten Wild Salmon Survival in Chapman Creek. With the majority of rivers in region two experiencing low water level flows and Salmon fishing stopped to preserve Salmon stocks, the Chapman Creek does not have to be one of the statistics for high wild Salmon mortality.
Chapman Creek is designated as a sensitive stream under the Fish Protection Act
Due to the low water flows and increased water temperatures in Chapman Creek no Salmon fishing is permitted.
The SCRD regulates the flow of Chapman Creek. Controlled low water flows are causing excessive temperatures in the creek due to surface exposure of the low water flows.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada recommends flows of 300 litres per second for Chapman Creek from the SCRD. As of July 31 the reservoir level was at 60% capacity.
On June 26th the SCRD flow rate was recorded at 160 litres per second. The flow directly above the Chapman Creek Hatchery intake is not measured but has a marked reduction in flows as recorded by the SCRD. This flow is further reduced closer to the ocean.
Under the fish protection act section 9, the Minister may issue a flow protection order if the flow of water in a stream becomes so low that the survival of a population of fish is threatened.
Water temperatures in the creek are reaching over 20ºC in the afternoon and Salmon in Davis Bay are unable to go up Chapman Creek to Spawn. In 2014 the Pink Salmon run in Chapman Creek was recorded on July 31.
Wild Juvenile Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout are in Chapman Creek at this time of year and will stay in fresh water until next spring.
Water Temperature Fish Facts:
Low water levels threaten wild Salmon survival!
8.5 -15.6ºC is considered optimal water temperature.
A water temperature of 21ºC is considered an impaired water body.
Above 20.3ºC cold water fish stop eating and growth ceases causing starvation and high mortality rates which effect future Salmon returns.
Water temp of 24 C is considered lethal to Coho Salmon.
By David Burnett
Sunshine Coast Salmonid Enhancement Society