British Columbia’s ‘most threatened’ Fraser River urgently needs protection: report

‘The Eden Among Us’: Outdoor Recreation Council of BC calls for urgent action to protect section of river between Hope and Mission that faces threats from industry and climate change

Content of the article

According to the Outdoor Recreation Council of British Columbia, a section of the Fraser River is the most endangered river in British Columbia, as it faces significant threats from industry and climate change.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

The council, which represents 100,000 members across the province, publishes an annual list of endangered rivers, but this year has decided to focus on what it calls the “heart of the Fraser”, a stretch of river located between Hope and Mission.

Content of the article

The council says it is the Fraser River’s most important salmon and sturgeon spawning habitat, but is ‘severely’ threatened by urban encroachment, agricultural expansion, the gravel removal, climate change, pollution and commercial and industrial developments.

Council Chairman Mark Angelo said the reason for the focus on a single river this year is the urgency required for governments to protect what he calls “the Eden in our midst”.

They recommend that the federal government designate the section of the river as an Ecologically Significant Area under the Fisheries Act.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

“His a part of the River this just faces very strict threats. And there is too very a lot a meaning of emergency around What is that deployment the. So I think it is appropriate this it would be be listing as our more endangered River for 2022,” Angelo said.

This stretch of river is home to nearly 30 species of fish and is the largest run of spawning salmon in the province, he said.

The council is also concerned that the remaining undiked islands on the lower Fraser have been purchased by developers.

As a result, industrial logging, widespread land clearing and dyke building now threaten the bastion of the most productive habitat for salmon and white sturgeon in the entire Fraser watershed, according to the council.

And it has no legal protection, which Angelo says needs to change “urgently”.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

“Most of the critical fish habitat in the Lower Fraser has already been destroyed by dike construction and industrial development, so it’s critical to protect what’s left, especially in the heart of the Fraser,” he said. -he declares.

Strawberry Island is part of the Heart of the Fraser, a stretch of the Fraser River between Hope and Mission which, according to the Outdoor Council of British Columbia, is the most endangered river in British Columbia.
Strawberry Island is part of the Heart of the Fraser, a stretch of the Fraser River between Hope and Mission which, according to the Outdoor Council of British Columbia, is the most endangered river in British Columbia. Photo by Mike Pearson

“Climate change is certainly also a major factor affecting not only the Fraser, but all rivers. It’s hard to say what the biggest problem is for rivers in general, but climate change would definitely be one. »

Climate change is expected to increase the intensity and frequency of floods and droughts, which affect river flow and threaten fish habitat.

However, when it comes to the Fraser River, Angelo says the biggest threat is excessive land clearing, often right to the water’s edge.

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

The council recommends that the government establish a long-term plan for this stretch of the river, which includes working with 19 First Nations in the area.

“We urge the provincial and federal governments, together with the Heart of the Fraser Nations, to do more to use these tools,” said Angelo.

Conserving and protecting sensitive fish habitat in the Lower Fraser “is of the highest priority” for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said DFO’s Janine Malikian.

Malikian said in an email that the ministry was developing a long-term plan to protect and manage “key fish and fish habitat areas that are sensitive, highly productive, rare or unique.”

Angelo said members discussed other at-risk rivers, such as the Coquihalla River in Hope, which was in the spotlight earlier this year after the BC government said it was investigating. Complaints about Trans Mountain pipeline construction activity disrupting an early salmon spawn.

Advertising 6

Content of the article

Trans Mountain reported that it had completed replacement work on a segment of pipeline and that the facilities were completed “to limit the environmental impact on the Coquihalla River,” but watershed stewards posted photos on social media of the drainage work underway near the schools of fish.

“We are fully aware that there are a number of rivers that are facing challenges that face threats and pressures,” Angelo said.

“But the decision was made this year to focus on the river most at risk in the hope that it gets the attention it desperately needs.”

[email protected]

  1. The BC Wildlife Federation alleges Department of Fisheries and Oceans managers are overriding scientific advice in making this decision and prioritizing commercial fishing opportunities over rainbow trout conservation.

    BC Wildlife Federation alleges DFO managers are meddling in rainbow trout science

  2. Commercial fishers catch Fraser River sockeye salmon during a

    Strong Sockeye Returns Bode Well for Famous Fraser Fishery

  3. That low, overgrown levee on the left in Maple Ridge wouldn't be up to a major flood.

    More than half of Fraser River levees would overflow in repeat 1894 flood, new modeling shows


More news, fewer ads, faster loading times: Get unlimited, lightweight access to the Vancouver Sun, Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites for just $14/month or $140/year. Subscribe now through the Vancouver Sun or The Province.

Advertisement 1

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. See our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

About Keith Tatum

Check Also

Biden’s climate goals could survive this election

Voters line up to vote in Fort Worth, Texas. | Ron Jenkins/Getty Images President Joe …