There was no sign of the Salish sucker this week.
Biologist Mike Pearson of Pearson Ecological and staff led a group of community volunteers to the Hope Slough Tuesday to see what was in the submerged fish traps, near Dunville Creek.
They found some crayfish, cutthroat trout, coho, redside shiners, stickleback and sculpin.
But no Salish sucker.
“We were very pleased with what we got,” said Pearson.
Pearson is the lead on the field work for a multi-year monitoring and restoration project through the Fraser Valley Conservancy, as well as the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
They’re monitoring the fish and water conditions of local waterways with the help of community members and local First Nations.
“So we’ve got community members working side-by-side with biologists to do the monitoring. We get the both the information, and the idea is we build the awareness and capacity to keep track of waterways in the community,” said Pearson.
Plus, they’re building on the public engagement and huge interest in Chilliwack around the goal of restoring the local slough to its former glory.
Monitoring work being conducted this week in the Elk Creek and Hope Slough systems was funded by the Habitat Stewardship program for species at risk, a federal grant program. The native fish they found now that the rains have brought up the water levels were healthy and varied.
“It was very encouraging,” Pearson said.
They are documenting what they find in the fish traps, and conditions in the slough, but they’re really looking for the elusive Salish Sucker, which is only known to have been documented in 11 watersheds in the Fraser River.
“It’s an endangered fish. We know it’s in the system here but it’s really rare and they’ve only been caught a few times. We have not caught one this year, but we remain hopeful.”