The Salmon are in trouble in the Bridge River. Their numbers returning have been falling in recent years. One of the ways to help the salmon from being extirpated from this river is to provide spawning and juvenile rearing habitat. Xwisten (Bridge River) First Nations and I have partnered to work on building salmon enhancement channels in the Horseshoe Bend area of the Bridge River.
The idea has been in the works for some time now, but has been delayed by BC Hydro high flow studies in the Bridge River system. These high flows may continue, but time is of the essence to help the salmon. About 1/3 of the Horseshoe Bend area (including the access road) is my families land and Xwisten has control of the mineral titles in the area now. We are currently in the process of upgrading the access and are currently monitoring groundwater flows to determine final channel design. Ecofish from Pemberton and Coldstream Ecology from Lillooet are bringing their expertise to this project. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and BC Hydro are also involved.
I want to see this project happen for a whole variety of reasons. First and foremost is to help the salmon. They are critical to the functioning of a healthy ecosystem and are an important cultural food source for the local Stat’Imc nation. Secondly, as a school teacher, I think it would be a great opportunity to involve Lillooet area students in a stewardship project promoting ecological knowledge and practical life skills. I hope that students from our local schools can be involved in all aspects of the project. I have a dream of setting up a field research centre for the local schools on the site. This would be something that could be worked on during the SLLP among many other things.
I think that the Horseshoe Bend salmon enhancement project fits all the categories of the SLLP including Restoration, Conservation and Protection. I am excited to be part of this important project and look forward to sharing it with the SLLP this summer. I have various documents and maps concerning the project.
In conclusion, I think that the Horseshoe Bend salmon enhancement project is a perfect fit to the vision of the Rivershed Society of BC. Salmon flourishing in rivers; people flourishing in riversheds. Please invite me along for the SLLP journey for more details on the project idea and to help me develop into something even more significant!