Salmon society takes on Katzie Slough

Watershed Watch organizing walk about of city stream in May

The campaign to restore what many consider a ditch, back to a salmon stream is no longer a one-man effort carried on by Scott Magri.

The Watershed Watch Salmon Society is now lending its weight to Magri’s crusade and is inviting all of Pitt Meadows to join in the effort.

“It’s really been abused,” said Lina Azeez, with the salmon society.

Most people think the slough, which runs in a big semi circle from the Fraser River in Hammond to the Kennedy Road pump station in Pitt River is a ditch, says Azeez.

But Magri wants to improve the stream flow and fish habitat conditions throughout its course. Azeez and her society like the idea.

“It has the potential to go back to being a beautiful rearing grounds for salmon,” said Azeez.

To raise the profile of the issue, the salmon society is organizing a walking tour of the slough on May 24, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., covering four different parts of the slough.

Azeez wants an idea of how many people are interested, so she’s asking people to pre-register at before meeting in the south parking lot of Meadowtown Shopping Centre.

The City of Pitt Meadows has already developed a plan to clean out invasive plants and grass and weeds from the slough and restore its flow. Last year, it did about half the stream.

The salmon society wants to restore the streamside areas and plant native vegetation to improve habitat for fish, but needs money.

“If we can enhance the banks of the slough, it will really help to improve water quality.”

Azeez said a long-term goal is to replace the intake pump at the Baynes Road flood gate with one that will allow fish to safely pass back and forth  from the major rivers so they can complete their spawning cycle.

That’s already been done in Spencer Creek in Albion flats.

The Baynes Road pump is being replaced, but not with one that will allow fish passage. That would require major structural renovations, she said.

Azeez added the group recognizes Katzie Slough is used for agricultural drainage.

“We don’t want to put the people of Pitt Meadows at any risk of flooding.”

But, she said, improving environmental health improves everyone’s health.