Environmental monitoring company AquaTerra produced their annual report and presented it before the District of Kent council during a meeting earlier this summer. AquaTerra provides this report as part of their drainage maintenance program and as a condition of their environmental permits.
AquaTerra is involved with the salvage of a variety of local fish and amphibians, ranging from sifting through vegetation to return animals to the water to isolating sites and setting traps to collect specimens to relocate wildlife before work begins. In 2021, this work has led to the preservation of members of at least two endangered or threatened species and at least three non-native species. Specimens deemed invasive are destroyed, according to the report.
In 2021, AquaTerra successfully collected one Salish sucker and nine Oregon spotted frogs; both species are endangered or threatened in B.C.
The Salish sucker may sound familiar to Harrison-area conservationists. This relative to the longnose sucker swims in only 10 streams nationwide, including the Miami River. Back when activists protested against an application for quarry operations off of Hot Springs Road, there were concerns mining would ultimately harm the elusive fish, among a long list of other concerns. After three years of protests, in December 2020, the provincial senior inspector of mines denied a Mines Act permit to the quarry operators.
The Oregon spotted frog made headlines last year as for the second year in a row, egg masses from the endangered frog were discovered in the Maria Slough in the Seabird Island First Nation area. This discovery was more than a decade in the making, according to the Fraser Valley Conservancy, first undergoing restoration in 2009. Initial efforts helped create shallow, marshy land that these frogs favoured.
Other species of concern salvaged due to AquaTerra’s ongoing efforts includes Coho salmon (21 specimens collected), the northern red-legged frog (10 collected) and the brassy minnow (five collected).
The most common species collected by AquaTerra was the three-spined stickleback, a hardy fish species found throughout the Northern Hemisphere and measuring two to four inches long.