A sign in Williams Park explains to people not to disturb clay deposits. (Special to The Star)

A sign in Williams Park explains to people not to disturb clay deposits. (Special to The Star)

Langley, don’t play in the clay

Signs have gone up at Williams Park to instruct people not to disturb clay deposits, which harm fish

Brand new signs that went up at Williams Park last month are immediately making a difference, noted volunteers who led the charge to put them there.

A child covered head to toe in the clay along the creek stopped playing once they read the sign and was sure not to get any of it mixed into the water.

Together, Langley Environmental Protection Society, the Township of Langley, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Salmon River Enhancement Society erected signs warning people “do not play in the clay.”

Five signs were installed at Williams Park to ask people to please stay out of the clay banks, or, if they do get clay on them, to wash it off with a bucket instead of in the creek.

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“Clay is natural but becomes a deleterious substance when it is released in large quantities,” volunteer Elyse Dyke explained.

It is an offence under the Fisheries Act to release deleterious substances into the creek.

The clay makes the water turbid so the coho salmon that are in the creek all year can’t breathe or find food.

Further downstream where the clay finally settles out of the water it cements the spawning gravels making it impossible for the female salmon to move the gravel and lay their eggs.

The signs are also to educate the community that the fish in the Salmon River are, in fact, salmon.

Kids trap the young coho in buckets and stress them out. The water quickly heats up in the buckets and runs out of oxygen possibly harming or killing the salmon.

“The coho should be carefully observed in the creek and then left alone so they can grow up big and strong to return to lay more eggs in three to four years,” Dyke added.

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