SEHAB Member: Lee Hesketh
Area: Southern Interior
Community Advisor: Tom Niven acting for Fred Lockwood
Date: November 2015
What top three points can you distill from community input to take to DFO RHQ?
1. CA capacity, Community is very happy with acting CA’s Tom Niven’s efforts and we are fortunate to have had Bob Harding’s assistance in keeping the stewardship movement alive through consistent efforts to help community find solutions.
2. Rec. Fisheries funding not being the solution for habitat enhancement for smaller community groups with minimal core funding to carry projects through. Other outside programs like Environmental Farm Plan are becoming more restrictive making it harder to qualify for funding so projects simply aren’t being done.
3. Concerns over SEP’s future as possible diminishing budgets will mean less capacity given that austerity has DFO staff limited in their present capacity.
A few examples of successes, failures, challenges.
The 11th Annual Interior Stewardship meetings were held in Enderby November 4,5 2015 with a great turn out of Stewards from throughout the interior. I presented as a SEHAB representative and asked for feedback from constituents on issues relevant to SEP management. The concerns brought forward were the perpetual issues that have been constant the last few years around capacity, funding and long term planning. The good news was that the stewardship community while tired, still exists.
Kingfisher Interpretive Center and Hatchery has been successfully restored through cooperation and support from Community, NGO’s and Government agencies working together to restore over 400 meters of Cooke Creeks flow corridor and infrastructure. Final habitat restoration was completed this past summer. Support from DFO staff was key to the successful recovery.
Habitat restoration projects are occurring throughout the interior due to hard work by DFO staff in securing permitting and supporting projects through the Notification or Authorization process. The challenge is more the habitat restoration staff not being able to fill requests for assistance.
Relationships between first nations and stewardship groups being strengthened as funding partnerships or collaboration between stakeholders has led to successful restoration of salmon back into the Okanagan and multiple restoration projects throughout the region.
Wilsey dam fish passage committee is active but frustrated by the process in evaluating the potential restoration of salmon above Wilsey Dam. BC Hydro and DFO’s lack of leadership on issues under their management due to funding restraints has other stakeholders questioning the process and their commitment to the wild salmon policy.
Concern as always with diminishing returns due to low water flows and high water temperatures in streams throughout the interior. While the Province has taken the lead by implementing the Fisheries Act, and restricting irrigation use on the Coldwater as a example, more dialogue is needed around planning for future occurrences. Will DFO be able to help lead these discussions?