The salmon are tagged so that it can be determined how many make it over the partial blockage from a landslide. (Courtesy of Incident Command Post (ICP)

Salmon will be flown by helicopter after landslide blocked river

Since late June, tens of thousands of migratory salmon have been trapped behind a rock slide on the Fraser River in remote British Columbia. To help them continue their journey, Canadian authorities announced that they would fly them over the barrier by helicopter.

The major landslide was discovered between June 21 and 23. After examining the satellite imagery, data indicate that the slide may have occurred in late October or early November.

It has created a five-metre waterfall that prevents salmon from migrating to spawning grounds, raising concerns about the impacts on these already endangered species.

Many people, including local First Nations and geotechnical engineers, are involved in the project. They are all concerned that if the fish cannot move up the river, there could be a permanent loss of Chinook salmon populations.

The situation is really complex as the land slide occured “in a remote and unstable portion of the river with steep canyon slopes and turbulent, swift-moving water” explains the government of B.C. on its website.

The solution to fly them by helicopter was made public Saturday by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the B.C. government after weeks of speculation over how to help the trapped fish.

The rock slide created a five-metre waterfall (HO-B.C. Ministry of Forests, Incident Command Post/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The rescue mission

The plan is to build a holding pond along a part of the river south of the slide to gather the fish and transport them.

Authorities hope that once built, the salmon will swim in the channel through a weir.

Thanks to the weir, the fish will be able to enter the pond but will not be able to swim out of it.

Then, they will be transferred into aluminium tanks using nets. The holding tanks will range from 780 litres to 2,700 litres and will be equiped to help oxygenate the water and reduce stress on the salmons.

Officials construct a holding pen to capture trapped salmon near the Big Bar landslide. (Courtesy of Incident Command Post )

Large tanks are needed as the chinook salmon are the largest of the Pacific salmon species, the world record standing at 57.27 kilograms.

Once in the tank, the fish will take off on their short journey over the landslide. An helicopter will fly the big holding tanks as quickly as possible to not disturb the animals.

Meanwhile, workers tag the salmon to track them and find out how many of them managed to get through the landslide.

Other options will also be used to help the salmon. They are being assessed by the different actors involved in this mission but “action will not be taken until rock stability is confirmed and the river bank directly below where the slide occurred is deemed operable” wrote the B.C. government.

Good conditions

According to the latest reports, the conditions for carrying out the operation are good.

The water temperature is cooling, which is beneficial for fish and the water level has also decreased. Therefore, there is less debris being carried downstream.

In addition to building a pond, workers on site continue to remove rock and debris to ensure safe working conditions but also prevent another landslide from happening.

Crews have almost finished clearing rocks and debris from a cliff face that sheared off last month, dumping tons of debris into the river. (/HO-Incident Command Post/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

12 endangered salmon species

Chinook salmon is not the only species of salmon that needs to pass through the area. According to the B.C. government species include: Spring/Summer 5-2 Chinook, early Stuart Sockeye, early Summer Sockeye and Summer Run Sockeye.

Chinook Salmon population has been in decline for years in the Fraser river. Of the 13 species, only one is not at risk according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. If they dissapear, it would have an impact not only for wildlife but also for the local communities.

The loss of these chinook populations would be disastrous not just for wildlife that depend on them as a food source, but also for the many BC communities whose jobs and ways of life depend on chinook salmon.Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Files from CBC, Incident Command Post, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, B.C. government

Categories: Environment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette
When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*