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

BUSINESS BEAT: Long-awaited second craft brewery opens in Port Alberni

New year brings new business to central Island community

Shipyard upgrade on Port Alberni’s waterfront means MV Frances Barkley retrofit happens at home

Canadian Maritime Engineering expands equipment to accept larger vessels

BUDGET 2020: City of Port Alberni department heads asked to justify costs

Faulty firefighter breathing gear, ballooning Uptown costs, train marketing all questioned

Port Alberni café, pair of teens rally support for Australia bush fire relief

Boomerangs Café plans three-day fundraiser; teens prepare to help in wildlife recovery

VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Jagmeet Singh says NDP caucus will discuss whether to support new NAFTA

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said steps to ratify the new NAFTA are top of mind

B.C. asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ when screening for coronavirus

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Advocates call hospital parking fees a ‘shakedown’ after learning most Island tickets are waived

Victoria General and Royal Jubilee hospitals among the most ticketed on the Island

University of Victoria tells stories of Holocaust survivors with graphic novels

International storytelling initiative launched first meetings this winter

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

Most Read