Sand and gravel washed out after a slope failure on a tributary of Hyde Creek is causing problems for migrating chum and coho salmon downstream.
Now, the Hyde Creek Watershed Society is asking the city of Coquitlam for money to help remove the material, which has been slowly working its way down the hill after a wooden culvert collapsed on Harper Road more than a decade ago.
"The sand and gravel took about nine years to reach the lower part of Hyde Creek," said Shane Peachman, the president of the society, which is based in Port Coquitlam. "The slope of the land is less steep [at the lower part], which caused major deposits."
Because the washout occurred in Coquitlam, he said it is only fair the city assist with the sediment removal. He added that 2018 was the worst year yet, with 20 truckloads of gravel and sand removed from the creek.
"That was the biggest amount we've ever had come through," he told The Tri-City News, noting that the year before, there were only four loads. "We are hoping it is close to the end."
At first, Peachman said he was not worried about the sediment making its way down the mountain because the area was not good for salmon spawning. But after every major rain storm, the gravel and sand has been flushed further down the hill and now fish have trouble getting passed the deposits.
"We had to get a transport trailer for our coho smolts because they couldn't get out," he said.
The society is asking Coquitlam for $10,000, which will go toward removing the sediment and building another off-stream coho rearing pond downstream from the Hyde Creek recreation centre.
Peachman said the hatchery has already seen some success from its existing rearing pond, funded with a $3,500 donation from the Elks, which gives the fish a safe place to rest at different times of year when water levels in the creek are lower.