Surrey has approximately 1400 kilometres of urban watercourses. Urban watercourses provides spawning and rearing habitat for 5 species of salmon and trout, a variety of wildlife, other freshwater fish populations local to British Columbia as well as other aquatic species. Equip yourself with a watercourse classification map and spot Salmon in Surrey. Visit streams at the right time of the year and you will luck out by seeing spawning salmon returning to their home streams during their long journey from the Pacific Ocean.
In one season, over 900 spawning Chum salmon have been observed in Bear Creek in Bear Creek Park!
There are certain places in the City where it is easy to view salmon if you visit at the right time of the year. At the top of this list are the two hatcheries in the City, Little Campbell and Tynehead hatcheries, where you can learn all about the entire salmon life cycle and view the young salmon fry as well as returning spawning salmon. In addition, there are great community locations near to each neighbourhood centre where you may be able to view the returning spawning salmon in the fall or winter.
Watercourse Classification Map
Surrey first developed a Watercourse Classification Map in 1995 that classifies streams based on their value as fish habitat for salmon and trout, collectively these are called 'salmonids'. This map is updated when new information becomes available and is based on potential fish presence, duration and source of water, and the features of the surrounding vegetation. It is also utilized extensively as a tool by land developers and planners to ensure that sensitive habitats are protected when planning for new development areas by establishing protected zones along the watercourse, called ‘setbacks’.
Watercourses are divided into 4 categories and are colour coded similar to a traffic signal in RED, YELLOW and GREEN to indicate if there is fish habitat present so that any maintenance works that may need to occur in the stream can happen at the right time of the year to prevent impacts:
- Class A (RED):Inhabited by salmonoids year round or potentialls inhabited year round
- Class A(O) (RED dashed): Inhabited by salmonoids primarily during the over-wintering period or potentially inhabited during the over-wintering period with access enhancement
- Class B (YELLOW): Significant food/nutrient value. No fish present.
- Class C (GREEN): Insignificant food/nutrient value. No fish present.
Fish species that are defined as ‘anadromous’, such as salmon and trout, require a freshwater habitat at the beginning of their life to grow and mature, live the majority of their adulthood in the salt water oceans and end of their life back in freshwater to spawn the next generation. All fish require oxygen, tolerable temperatures, food and water without pollutants. Good fish habitats can promote a high rate of survival and increase the number of fish in the ocean which benefits the fishing industry. A booming fishing industry in British Columbia gives the provincial and federal governments economic benefits.