Northern Interior Fisheries and Community Steward Issues

January 2011

Fisheries Issues:

·Chinook and Coho Salmon stock declining more rapidly than other Fraser River Stocks (Blackwater, Cottonwood, Baker, Naver, andNarcosli systems

·Small populations that could be wiped out if “in the wrong place at the wrong time

·Lack of knowledge of interior fish, habitat and behaviour as opposed to coastal

·Mountain Pine Beetle impacts of change in hydrology, timing of nutrient contribution, impacts to winter juveniles (low flows)

·For example accelerated cuts of up to 46% in Moffat (Horsefly System) to deal with Mountain Pine Beetle

·Mining Claims (area north of 100 Mile is fully staked), as there is accelerated exploration

·Proposed Taseko Mine Limited at Fish and Little Fish Lake

·Inconsistency in cold water infusion within watersheds (one area will get good snow pack and another will not)

·Ministry of Environment has done some modeling on increased air temperatures and resulting impacts on Salmonid Habitat

oCariboo Region salmonid habitat will be negatively impacted even in the immediate future due to air temperature not including changes due to hydrology.


·Opportunities for Mitigation of Fisheries Issues:

oRestoration related to temperature

oCold water storage planning

oFraser Plateau has the bulk of the cold water for the Fraser River and there are volunteer opportunities for protecting these areas through planning processes, education and riparian planting.

oOpportunities for proactive planning

oLast week of February there will be a “Fish Think Tank” for discussion on a long term vision for research in the Northern Interior Region

oHorsefly has just started the Fisheries Sensitive Watershed Planning Process through the Ministry of Natural Resources, the first for this region)

oAugmenting winter flows for juveniles


·Community Steward Issues and Opportunities

oContinued enforcement of City, Regional District, Provincial and Federal Mandates


oSome areas do not have habitat staff and are being serviced from different communities…therefore priorities, timing make it difficult for D.F.O. to respond

oVolunteers can be the eyes and ears in the community and can provide, local, historical and on the ground knowledge

othe win by Eco Justice in terms of mining and federal responsibility for environmental assessments.

oTeztan Biny is part of the Tsilhqot’in homeland and the Taseko River / Fraser River watershed.   Taseko Mines Limited wants to build a gold/copper mine and drain Fish Lake and little Fish Lake.It has passed through Ministry of Environment and declined through the Federal Government.Taseko Mines Limited is working to resubmit proposal.

oLong term funding that would allow for long term planning – takes years to build and make use of community capacity and it is lost when there are interruptions due to funding cycles etc.

oLevel of support from D.F.O. and M.O.E. even on their own initiatives ie.Watershed Planning Initiatives - Roundtables

oKeeping qualified staff and volunteers

oAccess to government information from various departments and from local forest companies.This is a major stumbling block for getting the “whole” picture.

oContinued juggling of partnership requirements/budgets etc.

oContinued ability to deliver programs for cheaper

oContinued ability to bring varying levels of partners together to work on projects

oContinued ability to respond to communities needs (information, services)

oProvide the continuity to issues that just isn’t anywhere else

oAble to access funding and partnerships that no one else can

oOpportunities to get involved in local sustainability planning with Municipalities as they are working on that now and are being funded

oOpportunities for getting involved in Watershed Management Planning from the Provincial level and Sustainability Planning from a community and regional level.


How Can Fisheries and Oceans Help the Northern Interior?


Community Advisor Positions work well in this region and provide the connection to the community that is needed for the leveraging of resources towards watershed education, stewardship and restoration.


  • DFO has recently re-signed the Pacific Salmon Treaty with the United States and must resume coded wire tagging of mid and upper Fraser River chinook with coded wire tags. This information is vital to both countries to assess catch and escapement information for this stock. This used to be undertaken at the former DFO Quesnel River Hatchery and the Dome Creek project outside of PG.


The UNBC Research Station was designed by DFO to undertake this very important work and is still the ideal location to continue with the program. The University would welcome the opportunity to undertake this on behalf of DFO once again as the facility and staff are both former DFO and are experienced at raising chinook and tagging. The University's intent is to expand our current Landscape Ecology Program with a search for a Canada Research Chair (a position and funding is currently available to UNBC) in Freshwater Fisheries and the chinook rearing (with the additional coded wire tag program) would compliment the ongoing activities at the Research Station. UNBC is willing to upgrade the facility under DFO's guidance should a long term opportunity present itself.


UNBC's intent would also be to train and employ First Nation individuals as fish culturists to undertake this work with mid and upper Fraser River chinook. At the moment we would welcome trainees from the Chilcotin Nations as the mid Fraser chinook may originate from the Chilko River in their territory, and we would also welcome trainees from the North Shuswap communities as the Research Station is located in their traditional territory.


This would be a great opportunity for DFO to partner with 2 First Nation governments and the University of Northern British Columbia at a facility originally designed by them for this very purpose as we used to raise chinook from the Chilko River and numerous other rivers for the coded wire tag program. Additionally the Research Station could provide community outreach and educational programs related to Fraser River salmon.


  • Continue ensuring PIP contracts be completed, signed and cheques delivered right at the beginning of the fiscal year.The groups are finding it increasing difficult to front the money required to deliver services until funding is received for delivery of Salmonids in the Classroom.


  • Roy Argue/Tina Chestnut are great CA’s that understand and support the communities.Communities would like increased Support and Resources for CA.
    • Increased dollars in PIP grants to places where there is leveraging with community ie.Groups leverage their DFO dollars 1:9 – 1:12 for watershed education, stewardship and restoration.This is a minimum estimation not including In-Kind contributions of volunteers and local business.
    • Increased time for CA to participate in multi-jurisdictional planning initiatives.There is an opportunity in the interior to do some regional strategizing within all the jurisdictions.Need someone with an overall vision not a specific ‘section’ vision.
    • Have all DFO staff go through CA or one appointed DFO staff person for stewardship/community activities as there is often poor communication across departments and people are working at cross purposes.
    • Involvement in Cariboo Regional Districts – Forest Capital of BC (Forest and Salmon)


  • Increased leadership in mitigation opportunities for restoration works (work with province to prioritize areas on a regional basis.)
    • This will help groups mobilize volunteers and facilitate other jurisdictional partners to be working in the most effect direction in more meaningful unit. Perhaps the Wild Salmon Policy Implementation will help with this.(Cariboo Chilcotin).
    • There is a potential for increased volunteers and funding through Climate Action and riparian planting is becoming an popular recommendation for stream temperatures, bird flyways, invertebrate habitat etc