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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows to host live virtual city council meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Mayor Dingwall updates on new initiatives and city staffing

Haney Bypass section closed for Easter long weekend

Bypass improvements expected to be completed later this year

City of Pitt Meadows Launches Local Business and Services Listing

Guide provides info which will encourage and enable residents to shop local

IN IT TOGETHER: Take good care of yourself, so you can care for others

Maple Ridge woman offers series of wellness columns aimed at helping navigate through COVID-19

Historical artifact found in Maple Ridge returned to Katzie First Nation

Katzie chief Grace George is grateful to have stone maul returned

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read