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Somenos Volunteers Monitor Water Quality

Posted by Elizabeth on February 4, 2015

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It has long been known that Somenos Lake and its tributaries, Richards, Bings and Averill Creeks are important habitat for Coho Salmon. It is thought that juveniles spend the winters foraging and growing in the lake and move up into the tributaries during the hot summer months when lake temperatures rise and water oxygen levels plummet.

With hotter, drier summers on the rise and unknown impacts of agricultural water draw from the creeks, the SMWS felt it was important to investigate the habitat situation for salmon in Somenos. It is important to note that two of the most critical habitat features for salmon are water temperature and dissolVolsSecchi.jpgved oxygen levels.

SMWS teamed up with local scientists from Madrone Environmental Services to create a program to assess the state of the habitat in Somenos Lake and its tributaries through community-based monitoring in an effort to determine the most effective management actions to ensure the continued survival of this historic Coho run.

Starting in June community volunteers were trained and begun daily water quality monitoring from the Somenos Lake dock. They used handheld equipment to measure water temperature, dissolved oxygen levels and water clarity. They also took note of a plethora of wildlife spotted during monitoring, including a family of river otters, a diversity of bird life and MANY invasive American bullfrogs.

WQVolsDS.jpgThis data was supplemented by temperature data loggers installed in the lake and tribs as well as a couple of rounds of minnow trapping to see where the Coho were actually using habitat. This research provided some interesting results with important implications for local water management. Keep your eyes peeled on our home page for the scientific report from Madrone...coming soon!

This program wouldn't have been possible without our generous funders and partners. Thanks to Pacific Salmon Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, CURA H20, Madrone Environmental Services (especially our scientific expert Dave Preikshot) and of course our highly dedicated volunteers!

Please contact us if you'd like to get involved: somenosmarsh@gmail.com, 250-884-0749

Follow this link to see Carrie's water quality monitoring volunteer testimonial: Somenos_Volunteering_Experience.pdf

Or this link to see our project report: Somenos_Basin_Coho_Salmon_Habitat_Assessment.pdf