Stream stewards to collect samples, establish work party

Published on Thu, Sep 25, 2003
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Stream stewards to collect samples, establish work party

The locally-founded Chums of Terrell Creek and the county-wide Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) are working together to clean up Terrell Creek and remove an invasive plant species that is affecting habitat. But, they are also educating the community in the process.

The stream stewards will meet this evening at the Birch Bay Bible Community Church at 7039 Jackson Road in Birch Bay from 6 to 9 p.m., starting with a water sample that will be collected from Terrell Creek and examined. Rachel Deryckx of NSEA will lead interested community members at Birch Bay state park, where they will collect a macroinvertebrate sample from Terrell Creek. Macroinvertebrates are visible to the naked eye, but smaller than 50mm, and form an important link in stream food-chains.

The collected samples will be examined at the meeting, starting at 7 p.m. (Interested residents should meet at the church at 6 p.m. to attend the collection process.)

The meeting itself will discuss the importance of macroinvertebrates in Terrell Creek and group leaders will give an update on the preliminary plans for a fall work party that will assist in the habitat restoration of Terrell Creek. The party will be held on November 8. Volunteer opportunities and other creek work will also be discussed.

Anyone interested in the meeting should contact Deryckx at 715-0283 ext. 112 or email her at deryckx@n-sea.org.

Restoration plans
Terrell Creek was once home to stable runs of chum and coho salmon during the 1970s; however, runs significantly decreased over the years because of an invasive plant species called canarygrass.

The grass slows water flow, raises water temperature and lowers oxygen levels during critical spawning periods, and acts as a physical barrier, choking the creek�s channel. Because of this, salmon are unable to pass Jackson Road, an area of the creek, to spawn.

The NSEA and Chums of Terrell Creek are now working together to remove canarygrass, and then begin active reintroduction of salmon via eggbox. Following the removal work, egg introduction will begin in the winter of 2004. NSEA cares for Padden Creek, Whatcom Creek and Squalicum Creek in Bellingham, Shell Creek in Ferndale and Terrell Creek in Birch Bay.

Deryckx said that in the county-wide review Terrell Creek is not a high priority, but the waterway has more community support than any other in the county.

For further information, call Elie Steele-Friedlob at 371-3441 or email Eliana.steele-friedlob@medstat.com. Visit www.smartgrowthbirchbay.org for more issues.