May 282014

walking_tour_groupOn May 24, Scott Magri and Lina Azeez led a walking tour of the Katzie Slough.

Scott Magri is a regular guy with a troubled past who, as a bullied kid, found refuge in the slough. Thirty years later, clean and sober, he’s made it his mission to restore the slough and its salmon population.

Lina Azeez spearheads the Fraser Voice Initiative of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. She works on issues that impact the Fraser River watershed’s salmon habitat.

About 30 people came on the tour. It started at the east end of the parking lot of Meadowtown Centre, where people were surprised to learn that the ditch running under the Golden Ears Bridge on-ramp is part of the Katzie Slough waterway.

After visiting the spot where Scott used to fish as a kid, the next stop was the blind channel accessed off Airport Way, the location of a culvert that, if gated, would regulate access to the Baynes pump and thus prevent fish from being chewed up.

Next stop was Translink’s storage channels, which are full of stagnant standing water. This area needs a fresh water source, either from the Fraser River or a groundwater  pump.

Last stop was at the Kennedy pump station on the banks of the Pitt River. These old pumps were installed long before current environmental regulations were in place. They chew up fish trying to move through them. Were the pumps to fail (which could happen at any time) they would, by law, be replaced by fish-friendly pumps that meet current conservation standards.

Walking tour participants included local folks interested in the slough and people from a wider geographical area who are generally concerned about the Fraser watershed. Gail Florence of the Katzie First Nation was an honoured guest.

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