All the efforts to put in the new Agassiz Slough floodgate are paying very real dividends.
During the Monday (April 12) meeting of the District of Kent Council, Coun. Kerstin Schwichtenberg reported a Coho salmon was spotted in the Agassiz Slough. This marks the first official successful salmon to overwinter in the slough since it was closed off by the local dike before 1948.
Schwichtenberg joined a group on April 11 and 12 who were monitoring salmonoid and trout populations in the Agassiz Slough system. The Agassiz Slough floodgate, which was installed last year, was intended to allow clear passage for Coho salmon and other fish traveling up the Fraser River.
Schwichtenberg also reported that despite record-low water levels in the region – which can plainly be seen in Harrison Lake and along the Fraser River – this single Coho salmon is representative of many more who have potentially found their way into the local slough system.
The fish-friendly floodgate officially opened on May 13, 2022, with representatives from the District of Kent, Cheam First Nation, Resilient Waters and Watershed Watch Salmon Society gathered for the ribbon-cutting. The new floodgate was one of 60 projects across the province as part of the $27-million Healthy Watersheds Initiative.
The floodgate allows for safe passage of all kinds of local fish and helps reduce flooding, debris collection and the accumulation of invasive species and algae. At the time of the Agassiz Slough floodgate’s opening, there were more than 150 obstructions – including non-fish friendly floodgates – hindering the passage of local wildlife across 1,500 kilometres of waterways along the lower Fraser River.
Students from Agassiz Christian School helped plant native plants in the area to provide more habitat for local species.