Stream Talk – Spring 2018

Bringing a shine back to yellow fish signs in the Comox Valley

Participant from the Beaufort Association shining up a yellow fish sign on Dove Creek in the Comox Valley.

If you live in the Comox Valley or travel along the local roadways, you may have noticed the yellow fish signs are looking a little “fresher” these days. Found on every road crossing of every salmon-bearing river and stream noting the name of the waterway, the signage is an important reminder to protect fish habitat.

Over the years, many of the signs had become difficult to read due to exposure to weather, built up layers of dirt, and in some cases, graffiti. Sandra Poole, an adult support worker from the Beaufort Association for the Mentally Handicapped in Courtenay, connected with SEP Community Advisor Dave Davies and proposed the Association take on the much-needed task of restoring the signs as part of the local SEP Community Involvement Program (CIP).

The Beaufort Association provides a variety of programs for adults with developmental disabilities, focusing on personal development and community involvement opportunities. They are well known in the community for their caring manner and the way they provide support and nurture people to reach their personal best (and for the Pet Treat Bakery —owned by the Association and operated as a social enterprise—that employs 14 people).

Twice a week, from June to August last summer, nine participants and staff from the Beaufort Association scrubbed dirt and graffiti from the signs. They also affixed new yellow fish stickers to the signage logos to replace those that were faded or worn away.

The group also helped create a detailed inventory of the 170 signs in the Comox Valley for Dave to keep track of. This
is especially helpful as the number had grown over the years and we did not know we had that many in the area. “The signs are an integral part of the stewardship effort to inform the public that salmon and salmon habitat are valuable and sensitive resources,” commented Dave. “The refurbishment of these signs by this community group was an extremely valuable project, not only to the stewardship and enhancement groups in the Comox Valley, but also to the general public. This project shows the public that the stewardship effort to protect salmon and salmon habitat is alive and thriving.”

Sandra, who happens to also be a member of the Roy Creek Salmonid Enhancement Society, was equally enthusiastic about the project. “It was a valuable experience for program participants to contribute and raise awareness in the community, and to get out in the sunshine and fresh air.” The program participants have also helped out with activities at the Roy Creek Hatchery.

Many thanks to the group! They inspired everyone with their dedication and we appreciate the many hours of hard work it took to bring a shine back to the signs which are now more noticeable to people driving by. The effort also brought a smile to many of the participants and to the local streamkeeper groups who feel a bit happier being able to read the signs clearly.

—Joanne Day,
Stewardship and Community Involvement
Fisheries and Oceans Canada