Day one of six volunteer days with the Nootka Sound Watershed (NSWS) and Pacific Streamkeepers (PSkF) with Karenn Bailey. We began our day on the road to Tahsis from Moutcha Bay Resort where I work as a restaurant supervisor. I’m here for the summer, saving up for year two at UNBC where I am pursuing a BSc. majoring in wildlife and fisheries. Karenn, Stewardship Coordinator for NSWS, and I swapped stories on the drive and it surprised me how much we had in common. Both of us born and raised on the North Shore of Vancouver, loving nature and escaping to the wilderness as often as possible. After high school we both worked in the corporate world but dissatisfied by life in an office cubicle, later pursued other options. We amazingly both wound up as snowshoe guides for the North Shore’s local mountains. These experiences led us to this point, out here in Tahsis, Karenn an experienced biologist teaching me, a hopeful student, the ins and outs of stream and habitat assessment.
We began in a stream Karenn calls ‘Louis Channel’, north of the Village of Tahsis. We followed the creek from its confluence with the Tahsis River upstream. Quite a large portion of the streambed was dry and Karenn wanted to investigate the pools for signs of fish. The first pool was small and stagnant and showed little sign of life; however, the further we walked the deeper the pools became and the occasional riffle provided another story. We saw plenty of coho and sculpin in these little areas. This was the proof Karenn was hoping for, that this area was an important habitat, year-round, for young salmonids. We walked until we came to a beaver damn and wetlands. Though we saw no fish here, we did notice some Northwestern Salamanders egg masses.
After the bush whacking out, we had the opportunity to meet the Distinguished Older Gentlemen, Don and Bill, who run the volunteer fish hatchery in Tahsis. They showed us around the hatchery and spoke business with Karenn while I stood by trying to picture myself in her role. With some time to kill at the end of our day Karenn and I went to the Conuma River where we made a plan for our days together.