About 56,000 fish now upstream of landslide in B.C.'s Fraser River
Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials and members of the B.C. Wildfire Service move salmon in a temporary holding pen on the Fraser River before being transported with a helicopter past a massive rock slide, near Big Bar, west of Clinton, B.C., on Wednesday July 24, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
LILLOOET, B.C. - About 56,000 fish have made it past a disastrous landslide in British Columbia's Fraser River as crews continue to work to clear debris and find other ways to transport salmon to their spawning grounds.
The slide near Big Bar in B.C.'s Interior was found in late June and federal, provincial and First Nations officials have been working to reduce the harm to the river's significant salmon runs, at a shared cost of $6 million so far.
Michael Crowe of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says 12,000 salmon made it upstream through channels created by rock manipulation and blasting, while 44,000 have been transported by helicopter.
Crowe, who is the environmental unit leader for the slide response team, says the majority of the salmon moved by air are sockeye, while the remainder are chinook and only a handful are pink and coho.
He says muddy water and fish movement make it difficult to estimate how many salmon are trapped downstream from the slide, but government officials have previously said millions typically arrive at this time of year.
Crowe adds the work to clear rock is dynamic and crews are also installing a fish ladder and exploring opportunities to move salmon by truck following efforts to improve what was a “very rough road” in the remote area.