CWFS staffers Tom Balfour and Dani Francis check out a baby fish at the society’s Lost Shoe Creek smolt trap.

Volunteer to help baby salmon

Spring is here and opportunities to better your Coast are blooming in abundance.

Spring is here and opportunities to better your Coast are blooming in abundance.

The Central Westcoast Forest Society (CWFS) is encouraging locals to learn about local salmon by volunteering to help monitor a smolt trap at Lost Shoe Creek. For the past 20 years, the CWFS has been working to restore local habitats and reverse the damage done by unsustainable logging practices in the 1960’s.

CWFS project manager Tom Balfour told the Westerly smolt monitoring helps create a baseline for how local salmon are doing.

“By trapping the smolt heading out to sea, we are establishing a baseline for what to expect out of fish populations in these creeks and apply that to all our restoration projects on the Coast,” he said.

Lost Shoe’s smolt trap was installed in 2007 and the CWFS monitors the trap each spring. This year’s efforts kicked off last week and locals are invited to lend a hand. Volunteers help count, measure and weigh the baby salmon and also check for parasites.

Balfour said volunteers score a fun, hands-on, education while enhancing the unique environment they enjoy.

“You don’t really get to interact with fish at that lifestage very often,” he said. “It’s a way to give back to where you live.”

He added that salmon are vital locally.

“Theyre the lifeblood of this Coast,” he said. “They bring nutrients into the forest and they bring all the other animals that come with that. They’re the backbone of the ecosystems on the West Coast.”Anyone interested in helping the society out is encouraged to contact the CWFS at  info@clayoquot.org.

“We definitely have a grood group of really dedicated and excited volunteers come help us out whenever we need and hopefully we’ll find more,” Balfour said.