Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials and members of the B.C. Wildfire Service move salmon in a temporary holding pen on the Fraser River before being transported with a helicopter past a massive rock slide, near Big Bar, west of Clinton, B.C., on Wednesday July 24, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

The federal minister in charge of overseeing Canada’s fisheries and oceans says that “extensive” remediation efforts are continuing at the the site of a large landslide that cut off salmon from migrating along the Fraser River.

It’s been about seven months since the Big Bar landslide first happened, roughly 64 kilometres north of Lillooet. Fisheries and Oceans Canada staff, alongside local First Nations, tirelessly worked to free the fish trapped behind the slide.

In November, the federal government issued a public request to seek a contractor to remove the block and re-establish a natural fish passage through the winter months. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site Saturday and announced that Peter Kiewit Sons ULC has been selected to take on the remediation work for $17.6 million.

ALSO READ: First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

“We know how integral these salmon stocks are to our ecosystem and to the communities up and down the Fraser River,” Jordan said in a statement, adding that officials are moving swiftly with the next phase of response.

Work to create a new passage will begin immediately, until mid-to-late March and by the upcoming migration season.

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

In addition to the contract, the minister also announced two technical working groups that will help inform the remediation plans, madeup of non-profit organizations, academics, government officials and stakeholders. The groups will help plan additional options in case the height or water velocity disallows certain salmon populations to get through the stretch of river following the spring freshet.

Here’s a timeline of the response following the slide:


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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