Endangered Species Discovered at the A Rocha Brooksdale Environmental Centre
A Rocha, an international conservation organization with a strong presence in Canada, has been working with community partners in the Little Campbell River watershed for the past nine years to restore and steward fish and wildlife habitat. A Rocha is currently establishing the Brooksdale Environmental Centre at 19353 16th Ave in Surrey. In order to best steward the remarkable Brooksdale property, A Rocha staff and interns have been conducting species surveys and habitat restoration projects on site. Their work includes an inventory study, capturing fish and amphibians in the Centre’s pond, which lies in the floodplain of the Little Campbell River, to assess species abundance and to manage non-native invasive species such as American bullfrog and Pumpkinseed sunfish.
But it was not the invasive species that recently made a big splash in their survey work, but the capture and release of a very rare fish. On Friday morning, August 19, 2011, A Rocha intern Audrey Epp found a Salish Sucker in a minnow trap at Brooksdale pond. Salish Sucker (Catostomus sp.) is an endangered species, listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, and found in only ten watersheds in the Fraser Valley and four in WA State. Populations are in decline as their habitat is destroyed or fragmented by urban and agricultural development. Salish Sucker was thought to be extirpated in the Little Campbell River, since they have not been found in the area since the 1970’s. This significant finding indicates there may yet be a small population remaining in the watershed. Big news for a beleaguered fish!