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Fish are Wildlife Too! - New Sites Signed
British Columbia Wildlife Watch, in cooperation with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Habitat and Enhancement Branch, is signing fourteen Lower Mainland fish hatcheries and spawning channels with the binocular logo.
The identification of these facilities as viewing sites recognizes not only the fish viewing opportunities present at, or near, most of the facilities, but also the educational values of these sites.
The signing of these sites also involves the cooperation of several local societies, groups and Indian Bands that are contracted to manage specific facilities, and of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) Parks Department, as four of the hatcheries are located in regional parks.
Six of these facilities are operated by DFO:
All of these DFO facilities are usually open daily, and each site has information signs to explain the activities that occur at the facility.
The management of the remaining facilities is contracted to local societies, groups and Indian Bands. These are:
There are many other hatchery and spawning channel sites in the Lower Mainland Region that may be identified as viewing sites in the near future.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a pamphlet called Where and When to See Salmon. This publication has just been revised. When printed, this pamphlet will include the British Columbia Wildlife Watch logo, some general program information, and the Victoria contact address and phone number.
For specific information on DFO's hatcheries and spawning sites in British Columbia write Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Habitat and Enhancement Branch, #400-555 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 5G3.
Program Continues - 1996-1997 Funding
Funding for the 1996-1997 fiscal year has been secured from the Habitat Conservation Fund. Just under $18,000 will go to the Federation of British Columbia Naturalists Foundation for the continuation of the British Columbia Wildlife Watch program in the Lower Mainland Region. While this will be a reduction in the current level of activity, watch for the logo signing of more sites, and for the printing of many new brochures.
Recreation Sites - Forest Renewal BC
Project funds were obtained from Forest Renewal British Columbia (FRBC) to complete an evaluation of the wildlife viewing opportunities at some of the Forest Service recreation sites located in the Lower Mainland. There are almost 90 recreation sites and about 60 trails in the Chilliwack, Sunshine Coast and Squamish Forest Districts.
The 13 kilometre Inland Lake Trail System near Powell River is completely wheelchair accessible, and is an excellent example of a forest recreation trail that provides viewing opportunities. (Editor's Note - This site is now Inland Lake Provincial Park.)
The FRBC funds will also be used to prepare a draft wildlife viewing brochure for the Lower Mainland Region, similar in format to brochures already printed for several other BC Environment regions.
Trout Hatchery - Interpretive Centre
Located in Abbotsford, just north of the Canadian border off Highway 11, is the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery. This facility, one of five trout hatcheries in British Columbia, is managed by BC Environment. The Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery (FVTH) raises domestic and native Rainbow Trout, anadromous and Coastal Cutthroat Trout, and Steelhead Trout.
FVTH has a large interpretive centre that is open to the public. There are interactive displays and computer games, and a spacious theatre for slide shows and films. The displays trace the life cycle of fish, and journey through a living stream featuring many species of freshwater fish. In one room of the centre there is a large tank that demonstrates what natural habitat looks like. Several different fish species inhabit this area. In one corner of the display is a life-sized beaver lodge that visitors can enter and view the Beaver's lodge entrance and insides.
In addition to the inside displays, and a view of the fry-rearing area, there is an outside path that passes many of the large outdoor rearing ponds.
During 1995, FVTH was signed as a viewing site, even though there are no on-site opportunities to view spawning fish. The interpretive centre provides valuable information on fish habitats, and how visitors can assist in maintaining and in enhancing these critical habitats. There is even one large panel display about wildlife viewing opportunities located throughout British Columbia.
Groups may pre-book a tour with one of the facility's interpreters. If you want more information, write the hatchery at 34345 Vye Road, Abbotsford, B.C. V2S 4N2 or phone (604) 852-5388.
The other trout hatcheries are the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery in Duncan, the Loon Creek Trout Hatchery north of Cache Creek, the Kootenay Trout Hatchery southeast of Cranbrook, and the Summerland Trout Hatchery north of Penticton. All are open to the public, and, with the exception of Loon Creek, have an interpretive centre.
Newsletter - Your Input Requested
So many new sites are being identified for wildlife viewing, new project-specific funds are being secured, and new brochures are being produced, that it seems like a good idea to provide a quarterly update. Initially, this update will be distributed to all of the agencies, organizations, groups and individuals that have been involved in projects completed or in-progress in the Lower Mainland Region. Some copies will be made available at events attended by British Columbia Wildlife Watch.
In future editions of this newsletter, you will discover which viewing sites are being identified with the program's binocular logo, and what site-specific projects are complete, in-progress or in the planning stages.
Several Lower Mainland viewing sites will be highlighted in each issue. These short 'shorebird tracks' articles will tell you a little bit about one of the Region's viewing sites.
If you would like to see certain topics covered in this publication, to suggest an idea for a short article about your favourite viewing site (not just in the Lower Mainland Region), or to comment on information contained in this publication, please contact April L. Mol, Lower Mainland Regional Coordinator, c/o Environment and Lands, 10470 - 152nd Street, Surrey, B.C. V3R 0Y3.
Viewing Sites - Provincial Parks
The provincial parks in the Lower Mainland Region are divided into three BC Parks Districts, Garibaldi/Sunshine, Vancouver, and Fraser Valley. Through cooperation with the Districts, at least one park in each District has been signed as a wildlife viewing site.
Fraser Valley District
As of the end of 1995, eleven bird checklists are available, each with an 'other wildlife' section in which is outlined, where applicable, the most easily viewed mammal, amphibian, reptile and fish species. These checklists are:
British Columbia Wildlife Watch - What is it?
British Columbia Wildlife Watch is the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks' program designed to promote viewing opportunities within British Columbia. However, the program is more than just viewing wildlife. The protection of wildlife and their habitats, and a positive, safe experience for the viewer are the primary objectives of the program. Its goals include educating the public on how and where to view wildlife, providing information on why wildlife occur where and when they do, and emphasizing the importance of maintaining and enhancing habitat.
While the Ministry oversees the management of British Columbia Wildlife Watch, there is a Public Advisory Committee which assists in setting priorities. Representation on this Committee is broad, including naturalists, hunters, fishers, guide outfitters, and representatives from the tourism and forestry sectors. Since the program began in 1989, many sites across the province have been identified for viewing, some with new viewing structures and interpretive signs. The development, or formalization, and promotion of viewing activities at a given site is only done once it has been determined that neither the wildlife nor the habitats will be compromised.
The program's blue and white binocular logo is used on directional signs to identify viewing sites, and to direct visitors to the sites. The areas identified include sites with managed viewing opportunities, such as the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area and the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Most of the areas currently identified for viewing provide opportunities to observe wildlife in their 'natural' habitat. However, other sites which involve habitat enhancement and/or educational facilities are being identified. This includes many salmon spawning channels and fish hatcheries, such as the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery, Weaver Creek Spawning Channel and Chilliwack River Hatchery.
To be identified as a viewing site, there must be secure, definable land tenure and management, and of course, reliable viewing and/or educational opportunities. In the Lower Mainland Region the sites identified are managed by a range of government agencies (federal, provincial, regional, and municipal) as well as non-profit organizations, societies and groups.
Wildlife viewing sites have been signed throughout British Columbia. Many regions have a regional viewing brochure and site-specific brochures.
If you travel outside British Columbia, look for a stylized binocular logo or people viewing symbol in other jurisdictions. Many provinces and states have similar viewing programs, occasionally with a detailed viewing guide available.
Project Funding - 1994 and 1995 Partners
Specific projects completed in the Lower Mainland Region during the past two calendar years were made possible due to the support of many agencies, organizations, societies, groups and companies.
Some provided funds directly, while others sponsored grants. Funds obtained were used to print bird checklists and site information brochures, and to purchase and install binocular logo signs. Without the participation of these partners, it is unlikely that any of the projects would have been completed.
In addition to funds obtained, numerous individuals have donated many hours of time to prepare and/or review brochures and checklists.
The following provided project funding directly:
The following groups sponsored funding grants:
Grants were received from the following sources:
Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park
Chilliwack River Hatchery
Chilliwack River Hatchery