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Almost 30,000 salmon eggs planted in Oak Bay section of Bowker Creek

Eggs released into incubation box
Gerald Harris, director of Friends of Bowker Creek Society, does the honours and plants the first batch of chum salmon eggs in a designated area in the creek on Jan. 22. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Thousands of chum salmon eggs were planted in Bowker Creek as part of long-term restoration efforts in the area on Saturday.

The Friends of Bowker Creek Society received approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada in August 2021 to place just under 30,000 eggs in the creek in early 2022.

Society director Gerald Harris said he and fellow members have been working toward this day for over a year and a half, and in the broader picture, for more than 20 years.

“We are putting chum salmon eggs into an incubation box in the gravel of the creek to incubate, they will then hatch out from the gravel and swim out to sea,” he said. “Our hope is that some of them will come back in about 2024 as adult chum salmon.”

The incubation box has holes in it that allow fresh water to flow through. However, the holes are small enough that the eggs will be held safely in the box until they can hatch, said Harris.

Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria, Capital Regional District, University of Victoria, and more have been partners in a century-long action plan to restore Bowker Creek and its valley, added Harris.

“The plan is substantially about flood control and stormwater management, but a benefit is that the stream becomes healthier when there are thriving chum salmon populations.”

Peter McCully, the technical advisor for the Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association, said that with patience and motivation the creek has been brought back to a place where salmon can be supported.

“The department has to know there is potential for success because we’re all concerned about the welfare of these wonderful creatures,” said McCully. “Conditions are in fact conducive to bringing salmon back – we’ll do a follow-up, and hopefully we’ll be able to do this again next year.”

In November 2024, there will be many eyes on the stream watching for the return of adult salmon from this same batch of eggs.

ALSO READ: Friends of Bowker Creek to plant 30,000 salmon eggs in Oak Bay section

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