Salmon return to Surrey creek for first time in 70 years

For the first time in 70 years, salmon are swimming up Surrey’s Bon Accord Creek again.

The project is being touted as the largest culvert rehabilitation project in North America, and is a collaboration between the City of Surrey’s Salmon Habitat Restoration Program students and fish passage installation company SSA Environmental.

On Saturday, Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke posted about the project to social media, citing the innovative Flexi Baffles as a major part of the success of the project in the Fraser River tributary.

Flexi Baffles, developed by SSA Environmental, are flexible barriers designed to improve fish passage through structures like culverts and barriers.

“Salmon, trout, and other fish and aquatic species are often impeded from their habitat by poorly designed or constructed culverts,” the company’s website states.

“Repairing or removing culverts is often costly and requires considerable time and resources. We have developed culvert baffles that enhance fish passage effectively and economically.”

Due to the flexibility of the barriers, high waters and debris can pass through freely without overflowing the capacity of a culvert. Meanwhile, slower water velocity and deeper waters create a more salmon-friendly environment, the company states.

In the past, a concrete flume at Bon Accord Creek made the water passing through too fast for salmon to access for a nearly two kilometre stretch of upstream habitat.

The Flexi Baffles cover 150 metres of the creek, and is the longest of 55 Flexi Baffle installations happening across North America right now.

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