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Salmon can now swim on their own at this creek thanks to major strides by Burnaby’s BCIT

Good news for salmon running through Burnaby and a message of hope at the end of the year

Guichon Creek restoration has hit another milestone, and BCIT is getting applauded for its efforts in making it happen.

BCIT has done "major work" to modify the creek's last major impediment to the movement of salmon and a spillway is now passable by salmon, according to a press release from the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC.

The work also included daylighting a part of the creek that has long been buried and paved over, according to the release.

The changes to the Guichon spillway, on the BCIT campus in Burnaby, now allow salmon to reach the upper sections of the stream south of BCIT.

Streamkeepers were previously dip-netting salmon over the eight-foot-high spillway.

Those efforts came about after a sinkhole developed adjacent to the aging and deteriorating 60-year-old culvert, according to the release.

Mark Angelo, rivers advisor to ORCBC and a 50-year advocate for restoring Guichon Creek said impediments to the movement of salmon, such as spillways and poorly designed culverts are very common in cities, and he applauded BCIT's efforts to correct this.

"Guichon Creek has become a classic example of urban stream restoration and highlights the fact that we should never give up on any stream," said Angelo, an Order of B.C. and Order of Canada recipient.

"Nature can heal itself if only we give it a chance," he added.

Angelo led BCIT's fish and wildlife program for almost 40 years, including efforts to restore the stream.

Guichon Creek used to be a "polluted" and "lifeless" stream, stripped of vegetation.

After a variety of improvements, such as a fishway installed by Metro Vancouver at the Cariboo Dam in 2011, and a fish-passable culvert installed by the City of Burnaby in 2021, the creek has become a lively waterway with “significant fish and wildlife values,” said the release.

"This is a great effort by BCIT and its partners to further restore this important urban stream, setting a positive precedent for what can be done along other damaged waterways," said Louise Pedersen, ORCBC's executive director.

"Profiling the ongoing restoration of the creek represents a great message of hope as we end 2023."