Community Advisor: Rob Dams
Challenges/Issues and Opportunities/Successes of the Volunteer Aquatic Steward
1.Tension has been building between First Nations and Sport Fishermen over the lack of enforcement of daily limits and no accounting of sport caught salmon.
2.Pending pipeline and mining development along the Skeena Watershed continues to pose serious concerns to all volunteer groups
3.Further cutbacks to time and funding allotted for Fisheries and Ocean’s charter Patrolmen poses huge concerns as there is less data being collected and no time for creek walks when the coho runs are returning
Habitat - Freshwater (Oceans, Habitat and Enhancement)
Most of the groups in this area continueworking with the habitat issues for their particular projects,.
1.The Kitimat Naturalist Club is helping with the Pine Creek protective areas and their eelgrass restoration works seem to be going well.Hatchery signage is in the works and will probably be done next year.
Salmon Enhancement (Oceans, Habitat and Enhancement)
1.Oldfield creek (Prince Rupert Salmon Enhancement Society)continues to work on all their enhancement projects. They were not successful in getting any chum eggs from the Toon River in Aug for Silver Creek - too many Grizzly bears on the spawning grounds. They hope to change to the Lachmach River next summer.
2) The Lakelse Sockeye Recovery Plan (with the LWS and other partner groups) is moving forward again. They took 300K sockeye eggs this Aug. Adult sockeye escapements seem to be up somewhat in Williams Creek. Based on initial reports, it sounds like their past enhancement efforts have had some positive results. Ian Maxwell and CA Rob Dams set-up an adult fence and viewing camera in Scully Creek this fall. It's a pilot experiment for collecting escapement and hatchery return data. The project looks positive so far - but the DVR computer program is giving them headaches with regards to data retrieval. Plans are to purchase a different DVR system next year - and return the one that they borrowed back to Smithers.
3) The Gitnayow have the best sockeye return to the Kitwanga River since they installed their adult fence. Initial reports suggest somewhere around 15K adults, with a decent number of hatchery returns. Mark Cleveland is the best contact for more details.
3.Oona River Resources Association returned to the Kumeleon River this summer and began the assessment of chum salmon returns, beginning theevaluation of the effects of the enhancement which was done for the last four years. A completed report will be coming outlater this fall.The coho fry used for the Public Awareness Education program were released successfully and in early November the group plans to do a small egg take to have fry on hand for next year’s program.Coho returns to Oona look good and the Salt lagoon River Road is giving them good access to that river to do stock assessments
Stewardship & Community Involvement
1.New group in Alice Arm - interested in small scale Area 3 chum enhancement or habitat restoration projects (return site visit planned next month) They are presently collecting baseline escapement data.
2. The Terrace Rod and Gun Club are starting work on a small urban coho/cutthroat stream in Thornhill called Hurley Creek.
3.The Kitimat Rod and Gun Club are still making Kiosks and now working in Sumgas Creek (another small urban stream in Kitimat)
4.Bear River Society in Stewart is now running an interruptive centre
5.Oona River Resources Association continues their education and outreach programmes. The Summer Students took the initiative to study and record Western tailed Frogs when they came across a pond containing toad tadpoles while clearing atrail.Although toads have little relationship to salmon the resulting report has given us a starting point to begin to include toad activities as part of our overall picture of watching for trends and changes in climate and environment.Toads have been on the decline for some time in our watershed and it was encouraging to see the significant increase
6. The Prince Rupert Salmon Enhancement Society are looking at renovations for an interpretive centre at the hatchery.