Canoe Creek flows through the Salmon Arm Golf Club’s Executive Course on its way into Shuswap Lake. The creek has long been an important salmon and trout rearing and spawning habit. However, stream degradation brought about by irrigation and development has adversely affected the creek over the years and coho salmon are no longer spawning there.
The number of trout fry have also seen a decline.
Over the past few years, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has even stocked the small creek with salmon fry in an attempt to re-establish a viable spawning and rearing habitat – with only limited success.
However, the Salmon Arm Golf Club say they’ve made a commitment to help bring about positive changes to the creek, especially in the way they manage their section of it.
One way is through their ball replacement program which is sponsored by the club, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The Salmon Arm Golf Club will replace any ball that ends up getting lost in the creek, the adjacent ponds or riparian areas in order to prevent golfers from stirring up silt or trampling sensitive areas while looking for their ball.
“We are doing everything we can to help rehabilitate our section of Canoe Creek in order to rebuild salmon spawning and rearing habitat,” says SAGC environmental steward Val Janzen. “Salmon fry require clean, fresh flowing water. We’re working hard to provide that. We’re hoping the ball replacement program will help. To that end, we’ve come up with the slogan: Save A Fry, Let It Lie.”
The Salmon Arm Golf Club has not only established posted setbacks from the creek to prevent golfers from causing erosion of the banks, they have also planted native plant species along the banks of the creek and nearby ponds to provide shoreline stabilization and give fish and other aquatic animals shade and shelter.
“When people know better, they do better,” says Janzen,
“We’re hoping the ball replacement program will help educate both golfers and the public at large about the importance of protecting and preserving salmon habitat.”