Nat Cicuto, president of the Yorkson Watershed Enhancement Society, stands at the site of a new culvert which runs beneath 86 Avenue in Langley Township. It is designed to encourage salmon spawning in Yorkson Creek.

Culvert design aimed at saving salmon in Langley Township

Efforts to help wild Pacific coho in Yorkson Creek are already paying off

Nat Cicuto carefully picks his way down the gravel slope on the south side of the new 86 Avenue culvert to reach the bank of Yorkson creek.

It’s a grey, rainy day, and the muddy water is moving fast through the just-installed precast concrete box beneath the road that connects 204 Street to 205B Street.

Cicuto, president of the Yorkson Watershed Enhancement Society, has to raise his voice to be heard over the sound.

“This is huge,” he says, smiling.

“We’re gaining about 100 metres of spawning habitat.”

The replacement for the old culvert under the road has opened up the waterway and comes with fish baffles inside that will serve as habitat for wild Pacific coho salmon, he explains.

Cicuto calls it a “history-making design” that will protect the fish from people and predators.

Work to replace the original “somewhat impassible” culvert on 86 Avenue with a new fish-friendly design began this summer and is expected to finish by mid-October when the road, curbs and sidewalks go in.

But the most important part, installing the new culvert, was completed in mid-September.

It means the obstructions that kept salmon from swimming in the stream for almost 30 years have been reduced even more, Cicuto says.

Prior to 2004, there weren’t any salmon spawning in Yorkson Creek because they couldn’t get through another culvert at Highway 1 .

The society lobbied the provincial ministry of highways, federal department of fisheries and the Township to fix that blockage.

After the work was done on the Highway 1 culvert, in December of 2004, 16 salmon made it into Willoughby for first time in three decades.

The last year a count was conducted, in 2014, there were 50.

“That’s a 200 per cent increase in salmon,” Cicuto says.

“I know 50 salmon doesn’t sound like enough, but for a small stream in an urban environment that’s undergoing a lot of massive redevelopment, it’s huge.”

Yorkson Creek and its two major tributaries, West Munday and East Munday Creek, flow through Walnut Grove and Willoughby, draining 20 square kilometres of land into the Fraser River.

Just Posted

Cupcakes against cancer: Langley parents rally to help family

Christine Tulloch, a crusader against cancer, has suffered a third relapse

Aldergrove chef sentenced to seven years for million-dollar drug operation

Raymon Ranu has been working as a cook since he was arrested for selling fentanyl and cocaine

Anti-gang forum aimed at helping Langley parents keep teens safe

Preventing gang recruitment is the focus of a forum to be held next week

Langley Blaze display depth despite temporary loss of pitchers

Injury and invitation to play for Team Canada leave team down three

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

Man pleads guilty in Surrey crash that killed two Abbotsford women

Sarah Dhillon and Paige Nagata died following head-on collision on Nov. 4, 2018

Most Read