Low-oxygen plume likely the cause of Chilliwack fish kill

Low dissolved oxygen as a direct upshot of upstream algae blooms is quite common this time of year on some Chilliwack waterways.

David Blair

David Blair

Something occurred in the Hope Slough over the weekend that caused a sudden fish kill.

Floating fish were visible by Sunday on the water from Kinsman Park to Camp Slough, and from Menzies bridge to the Young Road bridge.

City of Chilliwack staff attended quickly on Sunday morning to the site on Hope River Road. A crew was dispatched, to clean up and investigate, as reports popped up early Sunday on social media with local residents expressing concern about the historic slough.

City staff now say they believe a large volume of slough water “that was poorly saturated with dissolved oxygen, passed through the area for a sustained period.”

It could have been an upstream algae bloom. Low dissolved oxygen as a direct upshot of algae blooms is quite common this time of year on some waterways.

“While an event of this nature would be considered a provincial or federal matter, the city was happy to clean up the dead fish on Sunday so that residents would not be left waiting with the smell until Monday,” was the response about why staff were able to move so quickly.

Area resident Ian Stephen heard about it on social media and grabbed his stream-keeping gear to test the water. He headed to the bridge at Menzies, near Hope River Road, to get a look at it after 2 that afternoon.

He’s been working with WaterWeath Project for a while now, looking at protecting local waterways from various impacts, and could see had “something fairly serious,” had happened in the Hope Slough.

He’d never heard of a fish kill in that waterway. The last time an incident was reported was in 2013 from Sardis Park pond.

Two city employees responded to the fish kill report at 11:15 a.m. by attending the slough, as accessed by Kinsman Park, reported staff.

They began the assessment by collecting dissolved oxygen data. Dissolved oxygen was found to occur at 27% which is “marginal but within parameters to sustain fish survival,” according to the city report.

Slough temperature was 16.5C.

They collected :

Large-scale Sucker: 3

Sculpin: 159

Peamouth Chub: 2

Coho juvenile: 5

Redside Shiner: 2

Crayfish: 5

Pacific Lamprey: 1

Northern Pikeminnow: 8

Although some observers talked about seeing a sheen on the water, the city crew did not note any evidence of it.

Staff were in contact with Ministry of Environment to report the event, and they reportedly agreed, that it was most likely “a low dissolved oxygen plume,” said city officials.

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack woman’s 100-km birthday marathon to benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

RCMP investigating June 15, 2021 crash. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack RCMP say crash into median led to impaired driver investigation

Chrysler 300 driver allegedly collided with tree on Spadina median in June 15 incident

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read