Hank Shelley

Column: Steelhead recovery, oh so slow

By Hank Shelley, Observer contributor

For those folk who really love the outdoor experience, are attuned to, or belong to a nature society, it can be frustrating knowing it takes time to mitigate, or repair events like development in a park for a road, or accessing a hiking trail now land designated for development, etc.

But time stops for no man,

and looking at the bigger picture, three happenings that affect fish and wildlife come to mind.

Big-horned sheep, have always been native to the Mt. Paul area off the Yellowhead highway at Kamloops.

Major development on the Kamloops Indian band lands has dramatically pushed the sheep grazing and habitat, so the animals took to crossing the busy highway to a golf driving range for the green grass, with several animals struck, and killed including large rams.

Public outcry demanded action and a fence be erected to stop the carnage. After fish, wildlife and lands branch kept passing on who was going to pay, a prominent construction company boss from Merritt was willing to put up $50,000 and his crew to do the job. Finally a fence was built.

Although Cathy McGregor was environment minister a few years back, for just a short time, I attended a special meeting in Kamloops, regarding the spiny-ray perch invasion, by the so-called “bucket brigade, who had put perch in nine Interior lakes.

Biologists attended, along with seasoned Kamloops Fish and Game members, some who were retired biologists. It was a heated go-round, as a senior biologist, said their piscavore permits had expired for the use of rotenone two seasons previous. Rotenone is derived from a tree in South America used by natives to stun fish in streams, effecting the gill structure. It is used widely to treat lakes with invasive species, in the U.S. MOE staff would have to take a course to handle the stuff.

Meanwhile, for two high water springs, creeks like Sinmax which flows from Forrest Lake (perch infested) close to Barriere, into Adams Lake at Squam Bay could carry perch, which it did. Fry traps, set in the lake caught perch. Skamama Lake held perch, with Hiuihill (Bear Creek) flowing into the Adams River. The Adams flows into Shuswap Lake. A year later, children at Sorrento were possibly catching perch off a dock. Perch are prolific, laying thousands of eggs, and also predatory, using warm-water bays for food.

It is also rearing and feeding habitat for salmon fry and fingerlings.

Perch also spawn in bays. While boating, If persons see a milky or cloudy location, call it into MOE Kamloops.

My suspicion with anglers on the big lake using yellow-orange buck tails successfully, may indicate large trout, are eating or chasing, perch fry. This signals a dramatic change for salmon and trout numbers into future fishing opportunity. Salmon fry are consumed by mergansers, birds, mink, otters, predatory trout, lake trout and course fish.

Thompson-Chilco steelhead; This is a tough one, as little progress has been made, in regard to enhancing stocks. Only 145 fish returned on the Thompson-Chilco 45. Steelhead run with the chum salmon on the lower Fraser River, and are taken by Native gill net as a by catch. Mid canyon, they are taken in the gill net fishery.

Big argument is, will a hatchery help increase numbers? Meetings with all parties including government biologist suggests a hatchery will take away the wild stock, once unique. Some blame warming ocean conditions on poor survival. Others blame seals and sea lions.

My solution is putting pressure on MOE as historically it was a historic Native food fishery, and First Nations, taking the Province to court over infringement of fishing rights! Slowly, we are losing our heritage, wildlife, fish, for development, and personal gain in a province so beautiful. Hopefully smarter minds will prevail down the road!

Just Posted

Avalanche control scheduled tomorrow on Highway 1 east of Revelstoke

Avalanche control work is scheduled along Highway 1 on Dec 15. From… Continue reading

Highlights from recent school board meeting in Revelstoke

Soon-to-arrive Syrian family, budget update, and upcoming silent action were discussed

Okanagan College unlocks time capsule

Items placed in 1993 and kept in capsule in library opened at special ceremony

Special Public Avalanche Warning for Most Mountainous Regions of BC

Avalanche Canada is issuing a Special Public Avalanche Warning for recreational backcountry… Continue reading

Revelstoke developer frustrated with permit delays

Phase 2-3 of Mackenzie Village has been with city staff for 18 months

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms last stage of $381 million project

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read