QCI/HAIDA GWAII ROUND TABLE
SEHAB Rep – George Farrell
Community Involvement Area – Queen Charlotte Islands
Community Advisor – Christina Engel
Stock assessment on Haida Gwaii continues to be off the DFO radar. The consistent and accurate collection of stock assessment data has been reduced to a dangerously low level by DFO over the last 20 years. Over the last 3 years fence counts, AUC counts, and the patrolman counts have reduced to an unacceptable level. Please read Patrolman Pettigrew’s letter to the Minister and replies on the web site sehab.org.
However, the Tllel Watershed Society (TWS) has forged successful partnerships to continue operating the only adult counting fence on Haida Gwaii. The Pacific Salmon Foundation continues to be the most consistent funder, although they have not been able to support this project to the level requested. The North Coast and QCI Sports Fish Advisory Boards have successfully lobbied DFO North Coast Stock Assessment to financially support this vital project last year however, there does not seem to be a recognizable strategy in place for consistency of funding and data collection and TWS awaits word of funding for this year. Other important funders have been: QCI Salmon Unlimited and DFO PIP and Gwaii Trust. Plans for the coming season include purchasing, installing and piloting a video counting system along side the traditional count with people.
The planning team concept has not improved on the QCI/Haida Gwaii. Before the advent of “New Direction”, restructure and Resource Restoration Teams, a yearly planning meeting with the Community Advisor, technician, engineer and biologist (the “planning team”) was held. This included site visits to volunteers, CEDP facilities, hatcheries, fences and new projects for on the ground trouble shooting. This planning has rarely happened since restructure. The Resource Restoration Team has recently been doing good work in partnership with MoT on problem culverts however, it has not participated in biological and technical planning in a number of years. Many on Haida Gwaii believe that a return to a separate Community Involvement Division with dedicated planning teams for each Community Advisor’s area is a number 1 priority. At the very least a region wide standard of planning should be established for all areas. Perhaps SEHAB could offer this advice to OHEB. I suggested this in my February roundtable but it was not brought forward in our summary or our meeting with Greg Savard.
Good relations between Hecate Strait Streamkeepers, Parks Canada, Haida Fisheries and DFO Community Involvement, and BC Parks continue. HSS and HFP will complete stream and juvenile assessment, and strategic, low tech stream restoration in July and August.
The Outdoor Ed program in Queen Charlotte Secondary is going strong. CIP will be supporting 1/3 of the program in cooperation with Hecate Strait Streamkeepers (HSS) with watershed assessment and stream restoration activities. The Pacific Salmon Foundation is also financially supporting this partnership. Students will also be assisting in backpack fry releases to Stanley Lake and Tarundl Creek.
Salmon in the Classroom incubation program will begin fry release this month. Estuary studies combined with beach walks with Josina Davies will complement the releases. Josina continues to provide Ocean curriculum in Haida Gwaii classrooms.
Partnerships between Salmon Unlimited and the Port Clements Salmon Enhancement Club have been progressing. Salmon Unlimited is investigating helping in the hatchery upgrade and possible funding for locating a coho counting fence in Masset Inlet (Kumdis River).
The partnership between the Pallant Creek Hatchery (Haida Fisheries), Northern Trollers, and Hecate Strait Streamkeepers to continue the chum enhancement program in Selwyn Inlet met with success. The hatchery and camp at Sewell Inlet have been closed so chum eggs were incubated and fry reared at Pallant Creek Hatchery. CA Christina Engel, HSS volunteers and the Pallant Creek manager successfully transported fry by boat to Dass Creek and backpack released fry in April.
The Ministry of Highways has partnered with Salmon Unlimited, DFO, and Hecate Strait Streamkeepers to improve culvert and fish passage problems along Highway 16. This positive involvement of a provincial government Ministry has been very encouraging for volunteers.
Roundtable-QCI/Haida Gwaii-May 2006
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QCI/HAIDA GWAII ROUND TABLE