The site of a massive rock slide is seen on the Fraser River near Big Bar, west of Clinton, B.C., on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Ottawa is seeking help to avoid what it says could be the extinction of some British Columbian salmon species because of a massive landslide on the Fraser River that sparked a co-ordinated emergency response this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Ottawa cites salmon species extinction risk in call for input on slide response

Ottawa is prepared to spend between $10 million and $30 million on the project

Ottawa is seeking help to avoid what it says could be the extinction of some British Columbian salmon species because of a massive landslide on the Fraser River that sparked a co-ordinated emergency response this year.

Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, issued a request for information this week seeking input from the private sector and other experts to re-establish natural fish passage at the site of the slide.

The Big Bar landslide north of Lillooet, B.C., was discovered in June and initial estimates show 75,000 cubic metres of material was deposited in the river.

The government documents say the request will only be open until Dec. 6, given the “urgency” of the situation, and Ottawa is prepared to spend between $10 million and $30 million on the project.

It’s seeking construction and environmental remediation work to support the break up and removal of rock from the site of the slide during the first available low-water window between December and March.

The documents say the extinction of upper Fraser salmon species could result in economic losses throughout British Columbia and pose risks to the food security and culture of many Indigenous communities along the river.

The slide occurred in the traditional territory of the High Bar and Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nations but the government says an additional 140 First Nations may feel the effects.

“Without immediate environmental remediation, many salmon stocks native to the upper Fraser River (a large geographic region of BC) may become extinct,” the document says.

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says in a statement that it’s still crunching numbers around the fish migration, spawning and mortality data due to the slide.

It could take years of work to reduce the impact of the slide on salmon stocks, it says.

Following the slide, the federal, provincial and local governments worked with local First Nations through a joint command centre to move the fish beyond the barrier, including transporting thousands of fish toward spawning grounds by helicopter.

While some of the slide material has eroded or moved downstream by freshet flows, the largest slide fragments remain in the area “critical” to fish passage, the request for information says.

Work on the project depends on low water levels and the work must be complete before levels rise, which historically happens around March 15, it says.

“Given the unique and specialized nature of this work, remote location, low water window and less than favourable weather conditions, Canada is seeking input for the industry regarding timely and effective solutions, associated procurement strategies as well as any other meaningful feedback it may have to offer in relation to this requirement,” it says.

Interested bidders are encourages to engage with local First Nations and the government is specifically seeking input form Indigenous businesses.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Hardy arena waiting for almost three million in grant funds needed for maintenance

The funds will be going towards upgrades to the arena and the lobby entrance.

Seniors housing in Port Hardy moves ahead with rezoning application

North Island seniors able to “age in place” in new facility, currently getting funding and permits

Port McNeill curling club will be getting a brand new paint job, thanks to residents

‘The generosity of this community never ceases to amaze me!’

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Most Read