This afternoon I volunteered with the Streamkeepers to go notch a couple beaver dams that were completely blocking fish. It was the first time I’d been in the creek–quite literally in it, in waist-high waders. I was amazed at the time it takes to cover a small area of this watershed. The trail leading in is pretty tame, but in order to get to the creek we had to cut through blackberry brambles and then through old deadwood and dead blackberry vines that arched over the creek in a low-hanging manner that was not possible to hike through easily. Then we were in the creek and found one beaver dam. By the time we had cleared much of it, the water flowed through rapidly, filling up the other side, an up until then rather stagnant lagoon that was very muddy to walk through–though I went with two others through that part of the creek to another dam, where someone else had nearly finished clearing it. It was sweaty, I used muscles, I got dirty, and it was good. There were times I could barely walk in the creek due to sinking mud that held my boot!
Maple Creek is mostly an urban creek, though the part we went to today was in a park behind some houses. It is part of a 192-hectare watershed and runs about 6-7 km through parts of Port Coquitlam. A small tributary of the Coquitlam River, it is home to coho, chum, steelhead, and cutthroat. The streamkeepers do a lot of good hands-on work, like today–clearing out invasive plants, keeping fishways open, laying gravel for spawning, testing the waters regularly, and doing some studies. This is the first time I got to go out with them; a lot of times they work during the week when I’m at work. It’s a great bunch of people, and I had a great time. I definitely felt at home in the woods, watching the peaceful creek amble by and rise when the dam was opened up.