Salmon Release at Greig Creek
Every year, the Galiano Community School (GCS) and the Galiano Conservancy Association (GCA) are lucky to be a part of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada ‘Salmonids in the Classroom’ program and are raising Salmon together on Galiano Island.
This year’s Chum Salmon eggs arrived on February 5th on Galiano Island, delivered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The Kindergarten and Grade 1 class welcomed the Chum excitedly at the school as new companions for the next few months, eager to take on their care, which included checking water temperatures daily, and observing the little eggs, later Alevins, and then Fry. Usually, students are also responsible for feeding the little Fry Salmon, but with school cancelled indefinitely, the committed GCS teachers took over caring for our salmonid chums.
On one of the first sunny days in the spring, where temperatures were rising and the GCS and the GCA would usually be busy with education programs, we went to the Galiano Community School and one of the amazing island teachers, Siobhan, gave us a big bucket full of little Chum Salmon in fry state. GCA’s former Executive Director Keith Erickson, his son and their neighbour siblings picked up the salmon with us to release them in Greig Creek. Of course, with Covid-19 measures in mind!
To release the Chum, we had to verify that Greig Creek is the best spot for our little fish friends! We measured the water temperature of the creek and the bucket that the salmon arrived in and compared the two readings to make sure Greig Creek is neither too warm, nor too cold, to avoid shocking the fish. We also measured the ph of the water to determine how acidic/basic the water is – neutral to basic was the desired answer, and what we found. The four students present, who had all taken part in previous salmon releases in Greig Creek, explained to the adults what turbidity is — the measure of water transparency or clarity due to suspended particles (more particles = less clear = more turbid) — and we all agreed that the water is clear at some places, and somewhat clear at others. Lastly, we measured the velocity of the water using string, corks, and stopwatches.
All the measurements are taken to ensure the fry Salmon enter a habitat with the conditions they need to grow up to be smolts and then juvenile Salmon. One day later this year, some of the Chum will swim out from Greig Creek where it terminates into Retreat Cove, to start their saltwater life in the Salish Sea, and hopefully, a few will return to lay eggs in Greig Creek at the end of their life. Even those that don’t return will become an important part of the food chain, feeding other fish, marine mammals, eagles, and more!
For all of you Galiano students who couldn’t join us for the salmon release, we used an underwater camera to film the Salmon swimming freely in Greig Creek. The video you see below is of the Chum Salmon you raised with your fellow students at the Galiano Community School.
Thank you to all Galiano Community School Students and Teachers for taking such good care of our little Chum – companions!