submitted by Cindy Verbeek, Houston, B.C.

“I didn’t think salmon spawned in this river anymore!” I can’t count the times I’ve heard this of late. The comment is often accompanied by stories of salmon splashing along with people “when they were kids” in their swimming holes and even lamprey squirming beneath them creeping out even the bravest of souls.

But it is not, of course, the lack of fish that prompts this exclamation – it’s the news that A Rocha’s Upper Bulkley River Streamkeepers volunteers are finding and recording salmon spawning all over the watershed! This fall we counted 49 chinook salmon spawning in the first 8 km of Buck Creek, 30+ sockeye salmon spawning in the Upper Bulkley river and this past Monday found 4 coho and are expecting them to return to spawn at any moment.

Were they here and gone and are now back again? Were people looking, and then not, and now looking again? I don’t know – maybe a bit of both. As we dig into the history of the watershed there are clues that tell us a more complete picture. Watch for an upcoming series sponsored by A Rocha Canada called “Fish Stories” at the Houston Public Library beginning October 18th where we will continue to search historical data and encourage local knowledge to be shared to supplement our field work and continue to engage the community.

May your kingdom come Lord, on earth, as it is in heaven.