Parksville StreamKeepers Course

Parksville StreamKeepers Course
Author: Ashley Van Acken

During the weekend of September 9th-11th MABRRI student researchers, Ashley Van Acken, Kayla Harris and Ryan Frederickson, participated in a StreamKeepers Course facilitated by Michele Jones and the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society.  The course was designed to evaluate the health of fish bearing streams to ensure spawning salmon had an adequate ecosystem to lay their fry. During our course we learned about the various types of insect species that live in our streams. These insects live a short portion of their life in the streams and act as a main food source for salmon fry. Upon learning about the variety of insects in the water, students learned how to evaluate the overall health of the stream.  On field days students collected a variety of insect samples, counted them and identified the stability of food sources for salmon populations.  Students further evaluated the flow, turbidity, temperature, and pH, of the stream and examined any areas where the stream was obstructed by woody debris. The overall experience was great; we learned how to evaluate the health and stability of fish bearing streams and ended up becoming certified stream keepers.


  • Be aware of any pollution sources or obstructions in your local streams. 
  • Always evaluate streams in groups of two or more to ensure you are stream keeping safely.
  • Try to collect insect samples before pupa leave the streams in their adult form. If you evaluate after the pupa leave the stream evaluations may be inaccurate.

Be sure to have chest waders, water levels can vary significantly over the length of the stream and staying dry makes things much more enjoyable!