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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I headed out this sunday morning to see what life might be swimming around the Coquitlam River, and what I had come across was shocking. I started my trip from downtown Poco and headed downstream. It was no more than 2 minutes before I came across my first suprise, a 20 lb SHOPPING CART. Now while I am not astranged to seeing this in the Coquitlam I was suprised seeing as how the cleanup was only 1 month ago.

As I continued my journey downstream in hopes of seeing some life under the water things went from bad to worse. Another cart, then a tire and then another cart again. Not to mention the affect that the urbanization in the surrounding areas and the gravel pit way upstream. Instead of walking on rocks you know get to walk on mud. You can actually take the exact same route back up the river as it is obvious were you walked down due to the amount of silt on the river bed.

I ended up about 2 km below the red bridge (or bailey rbidge as some know it by) and it just got worse. The river has a very orange hue to it from the sediment and rust running downstream, the amount of garbage I cam across would be enough to fill a dump truck, and the damn rubbie campsites are even worse. I came across 3 rubbie sites that are in short...DISGUSTING! In a final tally I counted more than 60 tires in the river and on the banks and approximately 20 shopping carts in the river. The carts couldn't be moved as most were buried under the rock with only a portion showing. I tried removing one but it is impossible without a shovel by your side.

As I was on my return trip I had a while to think about this river and what can we, as a group, can do about it. The only resident life I came across was one crayfish and one frog. No trout, or fish of any kind was seen and the river was quite low and clear. Dirty but clear none the less. Have we killed this river? We can lay blame on the gravel pit or the summer users leaving behind thier garbage or even the rubbies putting shopping carts in the river, BUT, it might be that it is a realization of what an urban development can do to a river. Is there a way we can prevent this? More people moving here means more construction which means more pollution. How are we supposed to fight something like that?

The upper river has a hatchery program in place and even though it is small the workers do a great job in trying to bring life back into this river. Is it a redundant cycle? Are the fish that they put back into the system able to spawn when they return? With the amount of silt running down the river covering all the eggs, how will this work.

I guess you can say I am a little concerned about this situation. I grew up on this river and from what I saw today I can bet that there will be nothing left in it by the time I have kids. There needs to be something drastically done about this once beautiful, plentiful river before it becomes completely sterile. In my eyes the Coquitlam River has turned into nothing more than a garbage ditch.

How long is left in this rivers life? Are we to stand by idly and watch it die? Because right now it does not have many years left before what was once a great river will be nothing more than a garbage dump. Maybe we can put together a petition regarding the gravel pit? Not one to close it down because as I mentioned above that will not happen, but instead one to put hard restrictions on the way they handle thier runoff. If the CEWE's had some pressure from the neighboring cities, Poco and Coquitlam, maybe we could see some money from them. I would like to see CEWE's put in some money on a river cleanup and some better filtration facilities. How have they been able to get away with this without any dire consequences?

We need to make a stand to help save our rivers, because if we don't our kids will not get to enjoy the same beautiful sorroundings and fishing opportunities we have so close to home.
 

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I couldn't agree with you anymore. I've been fishing that river for 15 years, and it has been heading down hill. I don't think their is anything we can do, I guess this is what you get for being so close to two cities. I work for tha hachery, and their are alot of politic's involed, and that's why I can't answer most of your questions. The river should be shut down and put into rehibilitation
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I myself have only been fishing for 3 years now but have been fishing the coquitlam since I started. I did grow up in Poco so have been all over the river. I have never seen it this bad! The rubbies are moving by the cart load! Apperantly if you live in Poco you can expect more and more to show up as I heard they shutdown the Maple Ridge and Coquitlam Welfare offices. Which means that they need to come to Poco to get a check.

Here are some pics from today to give some of you the realization that we face for our urban streams.











More to come soon when I go back out. I'll try and get some of the rubbie camp to give you guys an idea of the devastation they can do!
 

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I think we should do something about these rubs living on the river, cuz I know the cops won't
I think you miss the major point. The rubbies didn't throw the tires in the river. They use shopping carts to carry their possessions in, so I doubt that they threw in the carts, and they sure as hell didn't send the silt and sand down the river. They didn't build the condos on the edge of the river. Rubbies are an easy target, especially if "we" get together and "do something" as a group outnumbering them. If you really want to do something, take on the real bad guys, not the under-fed, psychologically damaged, easy marks. Take your kids out fishing and hunting. Teach them to respect and revere the bounty of nature. Let them (and others) see you pick up garbage and haul it away, even if it isn't yours. Don't hold back when you see someone abusing the wilderness. You wouldn't sit quietly and let someone abuse a child if you could stop it, nature is no less helpless. Speak out at any puyblic forum you can. Get involved. It's a lot harder than "do(ing) something about these rubs", but it also may have some lasting effect on the resource we all cherish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My point with the rubs is they do make an impact. Have you managed to be lucky enough to come across one of thier camps? Right by the large high voltage power line poll is a trail that will lead you to the site, on the east side below Riverside school. I will take a picture when I go by there next time. As for throwing the carts in the river, I do not know who did that because I did not witness it. However the real problem still exists and if we don't do something about this river then we will see it die.


A few more pics





 

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Hey S T ...I fully understand your feelings on the river as well as your disgust on the amt. of garbage in the river, I have to lean towards professori's comments on the "root" of the problem. I grew up in Maple Ridge, and the Allouette R. has suffered the same fate as the Coquitlam, however the one BIG difference is the gravel operations.
These gravel removal operations have been operating in Coquitlam for a very long time and the silt they have deposited in the stream has slowly choked the life out of all creatures requiring a high nutrient body of water. The eggs deposited by salmon are regularly covered in a heavy layer of silt and toxic waste.
This problem is not new to the river and our local and provincial governments have, for the most part turned a blind eye to the problem.
Some time ago the companies were taken to task, and there were some definite improvments in the system, but certainly over the past 10 years, the river has suffered a slow and painful death.
I wouldn't lay too much blame on the transients in the area. Yes, they may leave a fair amt. of "mess" around their campsites, but usually not the type of stuff that would ruin a river. You have also visited the area after a prolonged spell of good weather, making it easy to camp on the riverbank.
In the next few weeks, there will not be many "campers" along the river as they will move on when the rains and cooler weather prevail, but the gravel operations and the corporate building will continue, much of it without any thought to the health of the river....
Very very sad situation, and one that will not go away......Do you know where the Brunette River is?
Used to be one of the best little coho rivers in the Valley.........Now, DEAD!!.............Ortho
 

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can a river die?

sorry trav the answer is yes.i,m 54 yrs old now and lived on cedar drive area for 20 yrs as a kid.the coguitlam river and debouvllle slough where my play grounds then.fish ,pheasants, running clear water what a paradice.add a million people, fill in the creeks and make them culverts.what do you expect!!salvagable? perhaps.crank the dam open and have a 100 yr flood and flush the river out, plant some willows , cut back the culverts so at least a few 100 yards of water can run threw some habitat,support the hatchery people.its not impossible but it is unlikly to happen :( .dale ps i drove about that area several yrs ago and couldnt even find most of the creeks i fished 35 yrs ago. i was sad dale in tofino
 

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I too grew up on the Coquitlam River. Over 40 years ago, it is where I learned to fish and appreciate nature, and caused me to decide to go into the field of being a fisheries biologist. Looking at the river now, and remembering how I had to hike through the bush to even find LaFarge Lake, makes my heart ache when looking at it now. What we are seeing is the virtual strangulation of a once beautiful river (especially above the gravel pits).

By way of comparison, DFO (a few years ago) published a map of "Lost Streams in the Lower Mainland", and it was shocking to see how many productive, fish-bearing, rivers and streams in Vancouver that have been completely enclosed by culverts and storm sewers. In years past they buried the rivers, but in todays climate it is no longer PC to do so, so now we leave it exposed and we watch the 'body rot' (so to speak). However, with enough political will (read $$) I am of the firm opinion that the river can come back and be productive once again. If Londoners can do it with the Thames, my view is that as long as there is water flowing, there is hope.

The key ingredients for the Coquitlam River still exist: water, gravel and shade. The rest is money: money to buy out the gravel operators, money to do some serious storm water management, money to get the garbage out and keep it out, money to enhance the hatchery, money to do some proactive education. Blaming only the garbage will not bring the river back, neither will blaming the gravel operators while doing nothing with the storm water will not bring it back either. They all need to be dealt with. In the meantime there still is hope, just not the political will to tackle the big job (at least not for now).

My 2 cents worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I have been aware of the situation at the Coquitlam fo3 years now but never did realize how bad it has actually gotten. The really bad area is below the red bridge (Bailey Bridge). I posted this to awaken people to this situation. As some people have never seen the condition of this river I thought I would show them. Something has to be done. I know thier has been a very slow movement pushing for the shutdown of the gravel operation, but as I said, that won't happen. The Cities have to look at this environmentally and economically, unfortunately, economy will always win. The cities are seeing big bucks come out these gravel operation so why would they shut them down? If they did shut them down, one would most likely open on another river.

We need to lobby together to have the cities put in place harsh penalties for not operating under environmental standards. We should work with the Gravel operations and cities to put in place strict guidlines for filtration plants or stream reclamation. Even if the gravel pits were to "donate" to the rivers hatchery program.

The company that operates this gravel pit is CEWE's. Here is a script from thier page:

Aggregate Supply

Jack Cewe Ltd, a general contractor and aggregate supplier, is a fully vertically integrated company. Over fifty years of experience in road construction and aggregate mining operations provide a truly integrated solution to general contracting and aggregate supply needs. With two sources of aggregate supply, two wash plants, a clarification plant, two crushing operations, and asphalt production capabilities, Cewe is able to deliver the highest quality of product and engineering services.


Pipeline Road- Coquitlam, British Columbia
image
Cewe's Pipeline Road mining operation is one of the ten largest aggregate mines in Canada producing over one million tonnes per year. The mines central location and superior material quality make Cewe the foremost aggregate and asphalt supplier in the Lower Mainland.
Funny enough that when you try and connect to thier environmental issues page it is not found! There are enough anglers in these communities where we can strike fear in thier eyes. The voters are usually right and if we do this properly we can force stricter rules on CEWE's, and other construction developments who are contributing to this. With a litttle bit of time and effort we can work together to help save this stream.

More information can be found at Save the Coquitlam River website www.savecoquitlamriver.com. My website will also be up soon where I will have a page dedicated to this.
 

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Good on ya ST for taking this on......Do plenty of research on this, as I am of the opinion that this problem has been discussed at high levels in the past and many other concerned groups and individuals have failed. Not to say you shouldn't do something you are obviously passionate about but the road may be a long and very arduous one. Ortho 8)
 
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