Salmon arrive in larger numbers at Big Bar landslide

Arrival follows historic high-water levels that halted migration runs

The Whooshh Passage Portal scanner takes detailed measurements of each fish entering the system at the site of the Big Bar landslide on the Fraser River 100 kilometres north of Lillooet, B.C. (Photo submitted by DFO)

Fraser River salmon have begun arriving in larger numbers at the site of the Big Bar landslide.

As of Aug. 5 Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is reporting 2,176 salmon were detected at the Churn Creek sonar station 40 km upstream of the slide, saying it’s a positive indicator of a successful migration past the barrier.

DFO issued an update of the massive project Aug. 7, which involves the Whooshh Passage Portal, or so-called salmon cannon, and a fleet of trucks to assist the fish as needed.

With work now complete on a higher capacity Whoosh system, consisting of six tubes able to move 15,000 fish 160 metres every 24 hours north of the slide, crews have been focused on improvements and system optimization.

“New filters were installed to reduce sediment in the water supply before it reaches the fine spray misters and other sensitive components,” the DFO update reads. “Crews also added mesh and netting to better guide fish movement within the concrete ladder and the steep pass ramp to reduce incidental harm.”

READ MORE: High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Other work includes constructing walkways and ramps, improving vehicle and equipment access, and upgrading rock fall protection measures.

The fish passage network is part of ongoing mitigation efforts since the landslide was discovered in late June of 2019, causing 75,000 cubic metres of rock to fall into the river roughly 100 kilometres north of Lillooet, blocking spawning salmon passage into B.C.’s Interior.

South of the site new fish are being counted in the low thousands every day.

The good news follows a month of record-setting water flows that halted the summer salmon runs and forced crews to move and reinstall some of their equipment. Water levels were in the high 10th percentile, a 100 to 120-year event, with some days exceeding volumes ever recorded on the Fraser, DFO said.

READ MORE: Williams Lake river valley flood recovery first phase could cost $2.6 million

Crews have now enhanced their tagging efforts before fish enter the Whooshh system with the goal of better understanding fish movement above the slide site. To date 283 chinook and 100 sockeye have been tagged.



quinn.bender@blackpress.ca

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

Just Posted

No plans to discontinue bus service, says Pacific Coastal

The company will continue to provide transfers to Anahim Lake on weather days

New bus service announced for Bella Coola

The shuttle will run to Williams Lake and Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Bella Coola Heli Sports now offering yacht-based heliskiing starting at $319K

BCHS has partnered with Maple Leaf Adventures and the MV Cascadia

Liberals and Greens yet to announce North Coast candidates

North Coast candidates have until two weeks before the election to name contenders

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Most Read