Fraser River - Stream Makers
Preparing a nursery for salmon
Sockeye is commercially the most important of the half a dozen species of
salmon found in the Fraser River. It is also key to the Native food fishery and
accounts for over 50 percent of the Native catch. The Alouette River once
supported wild runs of sockeye and Chinook salmon - both commercially valuable
fish. Both are now gone.
Trade and manufacturing, service industries, and tourism all thrive along the river.
The region is also known for its marine, road, rail, and air transportation facilities.
Much of the development in this environmental neighbourhood is on a floodplain. Diversion
of water by the construction of a dam in the 1920s dried up portions of the stream
bottom used by salmon to make their gravel nests. The water was diverted to another
watershed to produce power.
In a remedial project that is making environmental history, a community of stakeholders,
the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Ministry of the Environment, Lands and
Parks, and BC Hydro have teamed up to put into effect a water use plan. According to
this plan, 15 percent of the annual discharge of the river would be returned to the
Negotiations have been going on with BC Hydro to return minimum flows for the fish
so that a once dried-up channel can be restored to flow year round. It is hoped that
hatchery-raised salmon released in the restored channel will soon return to spawn naturally.
Other fish such as trout will also benefit.
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