SEHAB Member: Greig Houlden (Gord Wadley, alternate)

Area: Smithers and Northwest BC

Community Advisor: Natalie Newman (Acting)

Date: November 2, 2012


SEHAB Work Plan 2011-2012

Local Issue, Specific Examples

Actions by Community or DFO

SEHAB Opportunity

Wild Salmon Policy:

5 year Review


Habitat Protection and Enforcement



Stock Assessment



Salmon Enhancement




-'Streamlining' of federal environmental assessment procedures may create risks for wild salmon populations in the Skeena system from major industrial projects (e.g. Gateway Pipeline)

-Layoff notice to DFO biologists on the West Coast could negatively affect the Ministry's ability to accurately estimate individual stocks and to assess the impact of environmental and biological impacts on these.




-Community groups held rallies at MLA/MP offices in local communities in October 2012.



-Community groups express opposition to personnel cuts through MPs and other avenues.




-Advocate for continued focus on habitat protection for wild salmon stocks.


-Advocate for maintenance (if not increase) in biological support staff on the BC coast.

Pacific Aquaculture Policy and SEP:

Annual License/ Permit

Holder of License


Water, Effluent/Business License


CFIA Samples




Capacity and Funding

Core Funding

Project Funding


PIP Contract or Grants

CEDP Contracts


Lack of increase in funding to CEDP-funded hatcheries, despite closure of a number of facilities and increased costs.


Toboggan Creek Society has raised issue on an ongoing basis with DFO. No increase in budget for approximately 20 years.


Advocate with DFO for levels of funding sufficient to meet needs and cost increases over time






SEHAB Submissions, Comments from Groups:

Toboggan Creek Society

Our concerns are basically the same as what we have expressed in the past,
but still need stating.

Much of the infrastructure (creek intake, pipeline, valves, settling pond,
etc ...) are original (1984) and will not last forever. As well, our base
funding has remained the same for over 20 years now despite the obvious
inflation over the period.

On the escapement end of things the Coho run to Toboggan in 2012 is close to
3,000 spawners which is our 8th highest in 24 years of operating our
assessment fence. The Bulkley Chinook stock, however, is doing poorly due
to their freshwater environment and very warm water temperatures pre-spawn.

We appreciate the continued support from DFO and SEHAB.

Mike O’Neill, Hatchery Manager



Chicago Creek Society

Thanks to funding received from the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the society was able to install rock weirs near the mouth of the target watershed in July 2012 to retain spawning gravel for Pink and Coho salmon. It was not expected by DFO personnel involved that the spawning beds would be used in the 2012 season, but both Pink and Coho salmon were observed digging redds in the new spawning beds during September and October 2012.

After unexpectedly poor Coho returns in the 2011 season, returns for 2012 have been unexpectedly strong, with about 400 adults being counted through the fence to October 31st, and the potential for a traditional surge in early November, if water levels increase.

The unexpectedly large return in 2012, as well as the percentage of returning Coho that appear to be abnormally large has raised questions regarding Coho possible holding for an additional year in the ocean. This could also partially explain the low returns in the 2011 season. Under DFO direction, scale samples are being taken from some of the subject Coho to determine their age at the time of return.

The fence structure was damaged by a high water event, possibly human-caused, on October 1st. This required emergency repairs to both the fence structure and the new weirs installed to retain spawning gravel. Action by several agencies (District of New Hazelton, Ministry of Transportation, CN Rail) in ‘managing’ beaver dams upstream has raised concerns regarding potential impact on adult spawning and on fry survival. The society and DFO Community Advisor hope to re-establish a watershed roundtable to discuss appropriate procedures for dealing with beaver dams as well as lines of communication with other parties working in the watershed.

Greig Houlden, President

Public Events in the Region

A large number of community groups came together to hold recreational, habitat improvement and community awareness events on the Bulkley River to celebrate BC Rivers’ Day on September 30th. This is the second year of such extensive celebrations. Participation in the day appears to have increased since the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal has been under environmental review.

Community members in Smithers and Hazelton held rallies on October 24th outside MLA and MP offices to express opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal while hearings were ongoing in Prince George. The region’s MLAs have already taken positions in opposition to the proposal and the MP for the region is the opposition Environment Critic and was involved in questioning Enbridge at the October hearings in Prince George.