Fraser River - A fine mess
Restoration of a riparian habitat
The Salmon River near Salmon Arm is a small but productive tributary of the
Fraser, providing important agricultural, fish, wildlife, and recreational
benefits to the city of Langley and the Fraser River valley. This little river's
headwaters also provide the only known refuge in the Fraser system for the
endangered Salish sucker. It also supports wild coho and steelhead salmon, and
Urban development in this rapidly growing area is posing an immediate threat to wildlife
and fish habitats and destroying the quantity of water. Ranching, logging, and farming
practices have damaged the environment. Septic systems, chemical fertilizers, and manure
are the culprits. Water samples from wells are being analyzed for nitrate contamination
as part of a hands-on rehabilitation project supported by the Fraser River Action Plan.
Fifteen kilometres of river bank have been planted with more than 18,000 trees, barriers
to fish migration have been removed, and fences have been erected to keep grazing cattle
from damaging the stream.
The involvement of stakeholders — concerned citizens, First Nations, industry, landowners,
city and regional governments — in decisions about use of land and water, have made
Salmon River a testing ground for other projects, and for new ways of managing both
human and environmental needs.
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