Byrne Creek History
We do not know how Byrne Creek was referred to by First Nations. If anyone does, please contact us and let us know. Peter Byrne rerouted and channeled the lower portion of the creek in 1893, likely for logging- and farming-related reasons.
To the best of our knowledge, there is no historical record of where Byrne Creek entered the Fraser River in its original unaltered state. It likely just dissipated into the vast wetlands and bogs that used to be on the south slope flats of what is now Burnaby.
There is some information on the City of Burnaby’s website and some historical maps:
Over the last several years the Burnaby Village Museum has been making efforts to incorporate more First Nations history and knowledge into its displays and activities. First Nations used the area for fishing, hunting, berry picking, etc.
The lower portion of the creek was diverted and ditched over a century ago. There is some information about Peter Byrne and his family in the City of Burnaby Heritage collection. As for the impact of diverting the creek, it basically destroyed it as a fish-bearing system for decades, at least for anadromous fish like salmon that move between fresh and saltwater over their life cycle. The bottom end of the diked ditch passed through a pump that did not allow fish passage.
The City of Burnaby rerouted the ditch some 35-40 years ago and installed flap gates at the mouth that allow fish passage. Volunteers from fish and game clubs, in concert with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the City, began restocking the creek starting in the late 1980s.
There was a massive fish kill in 1998 that wiped out the entire creek when someone dumped a toxin down a street drain. That galvanized the community to form a streamkeeper group to help care for the creek.
Volunteers received training from the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation for activities such as monitoring salmon returning to spawn, assessing aquatic invertebrates (bug counts), juvenile fish trapping and ID, etc.
Please remember that all drains lead to fish habitat.