Restoring Nature’s Balance: Coho Salmon Return to Bon Accord Creek in Surrey, British Columbia

Embarking on a project that spans over three decades in my career as a fisheries biologist, I recently experienced one of the most gratifying accomplishments of my journey. After almost 70 years, coho salmon have finally regained access to their spawning habitat in Bon Accord Creek, Surrey, British Columbia.

This achievement was no small feat. Nearly seven decades ago, a railroad company redirected Bon Accord Creek through a 500-foot-long concrete flume, creating a barrier that prevented coho salmon from reaching approximately 2.5 kilometers of vital spawning grounds. Despite commendable efforts by the City of Surrey to enhance upstream salmon habitats, the costs estimated to remove the concrete flume and stabilize the banks were staggering, totaling in the millions of dollars. These costs hindered progress and obstructed the salmon’s migratory path.

To address this challenge, we collaborated closely with the City’s environmental staff, evaluating various solutions. The breakthrough came with the innovative Flexi Baffle system. Working alongside a dedicated group of student volunteers, we strategically installed sixty 2-meter-long Flexi Baffles at intervals along the length of the flume. This installation marked a milestone as the largest of its kind in North America.

The impact was immediate and exhilarating! Following the installation and the onset of significant November rainfall, an adult coho salmon was sighted navigating the native channel above the flume. This marked a monumental success and a testament to the effectiveness of our solution.

To celebrate this milestone, the City held a dedication ceremony on November 24th. The presence and support of Surrey’s Mayor, Council Members, and several Legislative Assembly Ministers underscored the significance of this achievement. The project received well-deserved attention in various newspapers and reports.

This victory, however, is just the beginning of a new chapter. Moving forward, the City is committed to closely monitoring the success of fish passage through Bon Accord Creek, ensuring the sustained return of coho salmon to their spawning grounds.

This triumph serves as a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and perseverance in the realm of environmental conservation. It showcases how collective efforts can restore the balance of ecosystems, fostering the return of vital species like the coho salmon to their natural habitats.

The revival of Bon Accord Creek stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration for similar conservation efforts worldwide, reflecting our dedication to preserving and revitalizing the natural world we share. 🌎🐟 #SalmonRevival #EnvironmentalSuccess #BonAccordCreekRestoration

First Coho Salmon in Bon Accord in 70 years
Mayor of Surey makes comments at
the Bon Accord Creek Fish Passage Dedication