News

Concerns raised about Evergreen construction on creeks

Suterbrook Creek is running clear under the Capilano Road bridge in Port Moody but environmentalists are concerned that salmon eggs buried in gravel may have been disturbed by sediment from Evergreen line work. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Suterbrook Creek is running clear under the Capilano Road bridge in Port Moody but environmentalists are concerned that salmon eggs buried in gravel may have been disturbed by sediment from Evergreen line work.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

Runoff from Evergreen Line construction flowed into Suterbrook Creek in Port Moody during heavy rains in mid-February, prompting the contractor and the Ministry of Transportation to make drainage improvements and perform extra monitoring.

Amanda Farrell, executive project director for the $1.4-billion Burnaby-to-Coquitlam rapid transit line, said the creek has been running clear and there is no evidence fish and fish habitat were damaged in the incidents that occurred the weekend of Feb. 14. “But we need to monitor that and monitor the creek,” she said.

Port Moody city officials and environmentalists were alerted to the problem and are doing their own monitoring but still want assurances Suterbrook Creek will be protected if heavy rains reoccur.

“We don’t want to lose any fish and we want make sure they’re aware of it and they’re responding,” said Mayor Mike Clay.

Still, he said he understands the challenges in trying to keep runoff from entering the tributary, which runs along the CP Rail lines into the creek. “I think the biggest trick we had was when it started raining so hard and we know that when the soil has been disturbed it’s more apt to run off,” he said, noting that when problems were spotted, construction was shut down to enable crews to put up more containment fencing to stop the seepage.

EXTRA DRAINAGE

Farrell said extra drainage and filters were put in ditches that connect to the creek, and environmental monitors will be checking the creek three to four times a week as the winter rainy season continues.

But the Burke Moun-tain Naturalists are worried the damage to redds — the hollows created by female salmon to lay their eggs — won’t be known until the water warms up and eggs start to hatch.

“It’s a wonderful asset to have where you have salmon coming spawning in a creek right where people are living, especially in such a developed area,” said BMN’s Elaine Golds. “We don’t want to see those redds damaged.”

Golds said she would also like to see more gravel in the creek to promote salmon spawning.

Meanwhile, the city of Port Moody continues to work out a compensation plan for a sediment runoff into Schoolhouse Creek near the Andrés Wines site during Evergreen construction last August.

“The city has said we expect if they kill two fish, we want something that brings back four fish,” Clay said.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

 

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