A couple weeks ago, I was out at a site along the Fraser River collecting data in a waterway blocked by flood control structures. The blocked waterway, once a vital habitat for juvenile Chinook and chum salmon, is now warm and stagnant, harbouring goldfish and other introduced species.
All along the lower Fraser, flood control structures, installed without consideration for salmon, block over 1500 km of former habitat. These structures are now old and many need replacing. Many have been in place for decades and are putting our communities at risk.
As we replace them, we have a unique opportunity. By choosing salmon-friendly flood control solutions that consider fish passage, we can support wild salmon populations while we protect communities and create jobs. Talk about a WIN WIN WIN!
So what is the hold up?
Most of these flood structures are owned by municipalities, all fighting for a piece of federal and provincial funding needed to update their flood control infrastructure. We need the province and the federal government to step up and not only provide the funding to replace this infrastructure but also require municipalities to transition to salmon-friendly flood infrastructure that supports wild salmon as well as communities.
Will you help your municipality become more salmon-friendly by asking our federal and provincial leaders to make salmon-friendly flood control a requirement for funding?
We’ve set up a letter writing tool and provided a draft text that you can personalize to make it easier for you.
This is a pivotal movement to address one of the many issues facing Fraser River salmon and we need to act now. Let’s invest in infrastructure that supports our wild salmon, not goldfish. Please send your letter today.
Wild Salmon are the lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest. They represent a critical and irreplaceable component of the regions ecosystems.
Please provide funding to remove and/or upgrade these flood control devices to allow Wild Salmon populations to rejuvenate. So many creatures, rely upon their health and abundance as does a vibrant Wild Salmon economy.
Thanks for adding your voice, Aaron!
Decades ago when Bill Van Der Zalm was premier the Terra Nova lands in Richmond were removed from the ALR. In the subsequent political storm, Richmond Council changed. The people of Richmond voted to buy what was left of Terra Nova and a park plan was adopted to daylight the Terra Nova Slough. The slough was dug and the bottom filled with gravel for spawning salmon but it was never connected through the dyke to the river. Of those who proposed and designed the slough I am probably the only one left and I am retiring from Richmond Council in October 2022. After years of referrals and debate the final proposal to provide access to spawning salmon and salmon fry with a self regulating tide gate is on the agenda of the Richmond Council Special Purposes Committee meeting this Monday May 3rd. The agenda can be seen online.
In 1907 dozens of salmon and sturgeon rearing sloughs were cut off from the river by dyke construction. However, Chum Salmon fry from a reduced number of spawning salmon around Richmond shores still managed to enter Richmond sloughs and drainage canals through the flood gates. Chum Salmon were still spawning in a remnant of one of the sloughs outside the dyke next to our house. Circa 1968 this avenue of access was also cut off when Richmond replaced mechanical flood gates with pumps. If adopted the Terra Nova Slough project will be one small step in restoring the salmon runs that were destroyed by dykes and drainage.
This is wonderful news, Harold. Thanks so much for championing this win-win solution for wild salmon and community safety! And for all of your similar good work over your career.