Carbon dioxide levels at Salish, Canyon, & Musqueam Creek and its implications on salmon spawning and survival

  • Tony Graydon
  • Jessica Lim
  • Jasmin Sandhu
  • Waylon Wilde


With increasing climate change, CO2 levels in aquatic systems are becoming more important as high levels of CO2 can prove to be lethal for salmon survival. In Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Musqueam Creek and Salish Creek have returning populations of salmon that spawn, while Canyon Creek does not. At each creek, CO2 titrations were done to obtain CO2 concentration measurements, in order to determine if there was a significant difference in CO2 concentration between creeks. We predicted that there would be a significant difference between Salish Creek and Canyon Creek, and between Musqueam Creek and Canyon Creek, but not between Salish Creek and Musqueam Creek. Data were analyzed using a single factor ANOVA, and post-hoc analysis was done using Tukey’s HSD test. A significant difference in CO2 was detected between Salish Creek (M=13.7, SD=2.18) and Canyon Creek (M=9.31, SD=0.87) and between Salish Creek and Musqueam Creek (M=9.92, SD=0.67). Recent restoration efforts and photosynthetic activity in Salish Creek may be contributing to its higher CO2 levels, relative to Musqueam and Canyon Creek. As all three creeks have mean CO2 levels within a tolerable range for salmon (8-20 mg/L), we concluded that some factor other than CO2 must be involved in the differential abilities of these creeks to support salmon.