Site D: The Rardi Creek Floodplain

This is the floodplain of Rardi Creek, a tributary of the Salmon River. Here many plants abound, such as grasses, skunk cabbage, salmonberry, and policeman’s helmet. Policeman’s helmet is a tall (about 1-1.5 m) but fragile plant with beautiful pink flowers. It has been introduced from Asia and spreads seeds using a natural springing mechanism. It is becoming a problem because it is out-competing native species, which do a better job preventing soil erosion.

If the floodplain is not covered in water, look carefully for animal tracks. Blacktail deer tracks are common and have the shape of the two hooves. Raccoon tracks are smaller and resemble the human hand. Coyote and dog tracks have a three-lobed pad with four toes and four claws in front. Also watch the stream carefully – if you watch closely you may see young coho or steelhead salmon – up to six inches long – darting in the stream. They live in this and all the other streams in the ESA, along with threespine sticklebacks, cutthroat trout, and the provincially blue-listed (vulnerable) brassy minnow (see Site H for pictures). The salmon live in these streams 1 – 2 years before heading out to the open ocean. They return to these same streams as adults in later years to spawn and repeat the cycle, although they are very rarely seen.