As Spring approaches, work is expected to resume in the near future at the Big Bar Landslide.
Gwill Roberts, Director of the Big Bar Response with Fisheries and Oceans Canada said last year they had a good passage of salmon with 1 point 9 million swimming up the Fraser River.
He noted that water levels were favorable and the efforts the team put in working at the site over the past two years were working well, however they still have a problem in the river.
“We know there are still remnants of the slide that are going to cause us some issues, but it’s more of a combination of high water and flooding accumulations at particular times that will cause us problems. So we’re preparing to move salmon if we need to and we’re also looking at what the remaining problem is in that river and what’s the best way to tackle it.”
Preparations for the 2022 Big Bar salmon monitoring program are underway.
“We’re focused on the Big Bar slide itself and seeing what happens between Big Bar Ferry and Churn Creek.” Roberts said, “There’s about a 45 kilometer stretch of river there that is of keen importance to us, so we want to make sure that the salmon can get through the Big Bar canyon, and we want to make sure that they’re not slowed down up the Churn as well. We can tell in 2021 while all the salmon did get through the canyon they were slowed down. They didn’t pass as quickly as we’d like to see them go through the canyon.”
Teams will also focus their radio tag applications on vulnerable Spring 5 Chinook and early-timed Early Stuart, Bowron, and Taseko sockeye as they have a greater likelihood of being delayed at the slide site if there are high water flow conditions in the Fraser River this year.
Throughout the season, crews will track fish movement to determine at which water volumes those fish can migrate upstream through the canyon without delay.