The terrible turbulence at the Big Bar landslide site in the Fraser River is stopping fish from migrating upriver to reach spawning grounds. (Courtesy of Incident Command Post)

VIDEO: Some of the salmon trapped at Big Bar slide heading to lab for conservation project

Sockeye to be transported to Chilliwack in oxygenated holding tanks for a pilot enhancement project

Tanks containing sockeye salmon will soon be on their way down to the Cultus Lake Salmon Laboratory in Chilliwack from the Big Bar landslide site on the Fraser River.

Researchers at the federal lab in Chilliwack will be leading a pilot project to preserve some of this year’s run of Early Stuart sockeye through enhancement.

About 200 of the Early Stuart had reached the obstruction site by Sunday, and other sockeye populations were expected to be following right behind them.

“This creates a brief window of opportunity to confidently collect the Early Stuart before they are mingling with significant numbers of other sockeye stocks,” according to the July 28 release from the Incident Command Post team.

The sockeye on their way to the lab could yield up to 300,000 eggs, which would be incubated to produce salmon fry. Options range from fry being released back to the Stuart Lake system as part of stock enhancement, or they could be reared to maturity to contribute to future generations.

They are ironing out the logistics of transporting the fish in tanks from the Big Bar Landslide site to the rearing facilities in the Chilliwack lab by truck. The rationale for the enhancement program, proposed by First Nations, is doing what they can is to preserve some portion of the at-risk population until they have “increased certainty that natural migration can continue.”

The worry was that the Early Stuart sockeye would never make it to their spawning grounds near Fort St. John if they couldn’t open up a fish passage to let them through.

Federal and provincial government reps, along with the First Nations leaders, and other experts, have been strategizing how to help the trapped fish from on-site, and from the Incident Command Post (ICP) in Lillooet, where they have been chipping away at the blockage problem from several different angles.

The swift-moving water is impeding salmon and other fish from migrating upriver to reach spawning grounds, but they also created hazardous conditions for responding agencies at the site, which is not accessible by road.

The salmon being trucked down to the lab will undergo DNA analysis on arrival at Cultus Lake to confirm their “stock origin” before being transferred to holding tanks pumped with “cool, calm water” until they mature.

Re-opening the fish passage in the river has been the collaborative goal, and multiple strategies have been attempted.

“Some of these concurrent actions are to manipulate the slide site itself, while others are to transport fish above the slide.”

“The Big Bar Landslide Incident Command would like to acknowledge the contribution of a member of the Yinka Dene who proposed this salmon enhancement strategy for this Early Stuart Sockeye run that are currently affected by the Big Bar landslide, and for the decisions made by the First Nations Leadership Panel to endorse this project.”

READ MORE: Unblocking fish passage the goal

READ MORE: Visit from B.C. premier


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Capturing fish on the Fraser River at the Big Bar landslide site is underway with seining, nets and weirs. About 200 Early Stuart sockeye will be transported in holding tanks down to the Cultus Lake Salmon Lab in Chilliwack for an enhancement pilot program. (Courtesy of Incident Command Post)

Just Posted

Quesnel golfers make the cut

The Quesnel Golf Club hosted championships for men and women over the past two weeks

North Cariboo Seniors’ Council gathering housing information through surveys

The housing demand and housing supply surveys are available online until Oct. 5.

Quesnel Culture Days takes “careful” approach

The Quesnel Art Walk kicks off Sept. 26

Business battling COVID-19 opens in downtown Quesnel

Shane Wright opened Evolve Gold and Gaming Lounge on Saturday, Sept. 19

PHOTOS: Quesnel car parade hopes to Take Back the Night

The annual march was turned into a car parade to help lower the risk of COVID-19

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

Attorney General of Canada defends Kelowna Mountie involved in rough arrest

Tyler Russell filed a lawsuit against Const. Siggy Pietrzak in June of this year

Refresh of Liberal government’s agenda comes amid new looming COVID-19 crisis

Lockdowns saw fed spending soar to historic levels in effort to offset pandemic’s blow to Canadians’ livelihoods

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Most Read