Langley's Marlow Pallett said a beaver dam on Munday Creek was causing an issue for salmon heading for their spawning grounds. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Ecologist concerned beaver dam on Langley creek bad for salmon

Salmon had only recently returned to Munday Creek after culvert upgrades

A Langley man is hoping that a little help from a local streamkeeping group can allow salmon to migrate up Walnut Grove’s Munday Creek again, after beavers set up shop with a sizable dam.

Marlow Pellatt lives near the creek, around the area of 96th Avenue and 208th Street, and he only recently noticed that beavers that thrown up a sizable dam, one revealed by the

The dam, not far from the culvert where Munday creek runs to the west under 208th Street, stretches around 30 feet or more across the ravine floor.

With water still high from recent rainfall, a small lake of about a quarter acre in size had formed behind the dam.

Pellatt, an ecologist himself, doesn’t begrudge the beavers their habitat. But he worries it will impact the environment of another species that has been slowly returning to Munday Creek – the salmon. He’s concerned they won’t be able to make it over the dam to get to their spawning grounds farther up the river.

Last year, the Yorkson Watershed Enhancement Society announced that coho and chum salmon had returned to Munday Creek in record numbers, thanks to the gradual replacement of old culverts along the watercourse.

The fish had made it as far inland as 88th Avenue, and there were also small jacks or trout spotted by Yorkson Watershed volunteers.

READ MORE: Replacing plugged-up culverts produces record salmon numbers in Langley creek

Over the summer of 2020, the Township of Langley replaced five culverts on the creek. The old ones had been so badly blocked that salmon could only get upstream when water was so high that it overflowed the culverts and the salmon could go around them.

Salmon-friendly culverts and bridges have been going into creeks in the Walnut Grove area since about 2004.

“In a perfect world there would be predators, more creeks with salmon, and less human impact,” Pellatt said. “In our world we sometimes have to intervene to help out the species we have impacted. We improved the culverts last year and the salmon run was better than it had been for decades. This year a beaver dam has reversed much of this work.”

Pellatt spent several days trying to find help from Langley Township, the DFO, and other agencies, but said it was the Yorkson Watershed society that has stepped in.

They were planning to work with Pellatt to make a couple of gaps in the dam, where the fish can get through.

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The beavers have felled a number of trees and damaged several more around Munday Creek near 96th Avenue. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

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