Maple Creek remains above ground today and provides year round rearing habitat to seven species of salmon because of passionate advocates over the decades. Most notable of these champions is Doug Bennie and Stella Carriere. Doug and Stella, and support from Fisheries and Ocean Canada’s Salmon Enhancement Program, founded the Maple Creek Streamkeepers. In 1995, Doug deposited another load of dead salmon fry onto the Mayor of Coquitlam’s desk to show what happens when you fill in and divert a stream’s headwaters. After this the City agreed to partner with the Maple Creek Streamkeepers, the Coquitlam Centre Rotary Club and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to install a well to augment the waters of the creek to prevent future dewatering. The well was installed in 1996 and has been operated and maintained ever since by the City of Coquitlam. In 1997 Doug and Stella, and the Maple Creek Streamkeepers, partnered with the City of Port Coquitlam and DFO to fund the Maple Creek Habitat and Enhancement Plan prepared by Alan R. Thompson & Associates. For these efforts, Doug was awarded the very first Port Coquitlam Volunteer Recognition Award for Environmental Protection & Enhancement in 1997.
Following this in 1998, the Urban Salmon Habitat Program provided resources to support a small group known today as the Maple Creek Watershed Streamkeeper Socirty. Our objectives for stewardship expanded beyond the watercourse to the watershed itself and terrestrial activities that impact stream health and watershed function. We have grown from two passionate and deeply committed champions to an integrated network of stewards, government agencies and landowners acting in unison to steward a productive watershed.
Historically, Maple Creek and the Coquitlam River was an important fishing site for the Kwikwetlem First Nation. In 2001, Kwikwetlem Elders Glen Joe and George Chafee retold the story of the annual gathering of their ancestral grandmothers and family members to fish the unique early returning sockeye to all who had gathered for the Blanketing Ceremony of Chief Martin Joe. A new generation of Kwikwetlem Nation and Maple Creek Watershed Streamkeepers Society members witnessed this oral history being shared as the drummers from Hope and Chehalis marked the event. Since this cultural celebration, Kwikwetlem Nation and the Streamkeepers have participated in many habitat projects and monitoring events.
Maple Creek Streamkeepers work to educate and reverse the impacts of riparian encroachment, low summer stream flows, fish passage obstructions, pollution, and other human activities that degrade the quality of habitat for fish and wildlife as Maple Creek flows through our developed housing and commercial areas.
We provided data and information for the development of the Maple Creek Integrated Watershed Management Plan, to address the challenges that face Maple Creek. The purpose of the plan is to guide both Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam to improve the Creek’s 192 ha watershed by minimizing the risk of flooding to private property, preserving habitat in the stream and plants in the riparian corridor, and identifying effective and affordable restoration and enhancement opportunities.