Fish were found floating in a ditch in Pitt Meadows. (Contributed)

Dead fish floating in Pitt Meadows ditch

Fish are in waterways that can become toxic environments, says Watershed Watch

The pictures, showing fish floating in a ditch, would be a concern to any naturalist.

Mission resident Alfred Miller took the photos in Pitt Meadows on June 26, and reported them to Wildsafe B.C., Fisheries and Oceans Canada, local environmental groups and the Green party. His pictures were taken on Old Dewdney Trunk Road.

Miller was frustrated when nobody responded.

“Nobody seems to be interested,” said Miller. “I think it needs further investigation.”

The ditch looks like habitat that would only be suitable for a frog, but fish are there in the ditches around Pitt Meadows, said Lina Azeez of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society.

Her group is working toward creating healthy fish habitat in the Katzie Slough that runs through Pitt Meadows. The ditch in question connects to the slough, although it is choked with vegetation in places.

“Fish are really resilient – chum have been found in ditches two feet wide,” she said.

Azeez speculated no government organizations got involved because the dead fish appear to be an invasive species called pumpkin seed.

“Which is unfortunately an invasive fish in B.C., so there would not be a lot of concern about them dying.”

READ ALSO: Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

But the water conditions that led to the death of this comparatively hardy fish should be concerning, said Azeez.

She explained fish die in waterways like the one photographed because of a lack of oxygen. Invasive plants literally choke these waterways. Aquatic plants absorb the oxygen in the water, and fish die.

Warm weather that week, a lack of shade on the waterway, and the lack of water flow would create the conditions where that fish die-off could happen.

Azeez said it is important for people reporting such an incident to get a water sample in a clear bottle or jar, so the water quality can be tested.

Without that, observers can only speculate about what caused the fish to die.

Randy Evans, operations superintendent with the City of Pitt Meadows, said the city was unaware of these dead fish, but he has seen similar incidents where fish suddenly die in the waterways around the city – although not frequently.

He said the water in the ditch generally does not flow – about 80 per cent of the water in the drainage system is stagnant. The only fresh source is rain water, so these kinds of die-offs generally occur when there has not been rain.

“There’s no oxygen left, and the fish would die,” he said. “It’s not a good environment for fish.”

He also identified the fish as pumpkin seed, and noted heron and predators would quickly clean up the dead fish.

Evans said while the natural conditions in the waterway are potentially deadly to fish, he did not rule out something toxic being dumped that would have killed them.

He said the city could test a water sample from a possible fish kill. He added that staff would watch this ditch to make sure nothing toxic was being introduced.

READ ALSO: Stepping up for wildlife and the environment

Azeez advised people to contact the Environment Ministry through its Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-RAPP, and if salmon are involved they can contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada at 1-800-465-4336.


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

New pool systems being checked out as renos near completion

Maple Ridge Leisure Centre pools open some time next year

Former Maple Ridge mayor new Chamber president

Al Hogarth takes over from Ken Holland

Caddy Shack, one of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs, baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Bill 41 a ‘step toward reconciliation’: MLA

Katzie will get meaningful consultation, says Chief George

Freshco opens in Maple Ridge on Thursday

Free eggs for first 500 customers

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Most Read