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First Flush Kill, May 15, 2003.

The largest and smallest dead coho smolts
The largest and smallest dead coho smolts found in May 2003 after the first rainfall following their release flushed road film and other contaminants into storm drains that empty into Byrne Creek. It's heartbreaking to watch these lovely fish frantically leaping out of the polluted water and circling in death dances as they die.
Streamkeepers net dead coho smolts from settling pond
Streamkeepers use nets to pull dead coho smolts from the settling pond in the Byrne Creek habitat.
Dumping dead coho from net into bucket Netting dead coho smolts
Volunteers netting dead coho smolts. It's still a mystery as to why these hatchery fish are so sensitive to the pollution washed into the creek from the first rainfall after their release. They die while cutthroat trout and indigenous salmon fry appear to be fine.
Dead coho smolts in bucket
The toll starts to mount as the bucket fills. Volunteers feel glum as they remember releasing these lively young fish just a week earlier with the help of dozens of excited shoolchildren.
Tallying the dead
Measuring and counting the dead.
Closeup of measuring dead smolts
A closer view of volunteer measuring the dead smolts.

Photos by Paul Cipywnyk




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