More than 100 salmon carcasses were tossed into Douglas Creek by students from Saanich’s St. Margaret’s School on Tuesday morning (Feb. 1) as part of restoration efforts in the area.
The annual Salmon Carcass Transplant saw science class students in Grade 5, and a separate group of students in Grades 11 and 12 take part in the slimy toss.
The senior students have been studying water systems and climate change, and this opportunity tied nicely into what they’re learning, said teacher Jennifer Walton. It also allowed them to spend time outdoors and discover how to protect nature in a hands-on way, she added.
“They also worked with the Grade 5 class, who are raising salmon eggs in their classroom, to learn about the salmon cycle.”
The carcasses will add marine-derived nutrients to the stream’s ecosystem, said Peter McCully, biologist and technical advisor for the Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association.
“Adding the dead fish into the stream acts as a fertilizer pump to add phosphorous, nitrogen, and carbon – all necessary for the success of life in the stream,” he said.
With the amount of rain Greater Victoria sees through the winter, much of those nutrients are washed away, McCully added, and as the fish decompose they further enrich the ecosystem by restoring lost nutrients.
Environmental protection of the creek and providing education to kids are important to Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society president Darrell Wick, who hosted the Feb. 1 toss.
“What could be better than to have one classroom that’s studying the incubation of fry fish, and another that’s studying the salmon life cycle actually throw the fish in themselves?” he asked.
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