Saturday January 8, 2010

 

Environment

Who You Callin' A Sucka?

DFO to meet with stakeholders in bid to save Salish sucker and Nooksack dace

Staff/Voice

 

he Province of BC and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada are developing a draft of their Species at Risk Act which will look at a creating a joint action recovery strategy and restoration plan for the Salish sucker and the Nooksack dace, small endangered freshwater fish found in and around Chilliwack and the Upper Fraser Valley.

On Monday, council will receive the draft recovery proposal so they can take a look at the package before it goes to the workshops.

The suckers and dace are directly in the line of fire due to agricultural and urban sprawl. The two species face similar threats but have different habitat needs. Their spawning grounds have been filled-in or covered over in silt. Creeks that used to run year round are becoming dustbowls due to increased water consumption and road construction. Also, the water carries very little oxygen during certain times of the year, effectively suffocating the fish.

Direct threats to Salish sucker include nutrient loading, dredging and dyking, excessive water withdrawals, storm water drainage, sediment releases, riparian vegetation removal and beaver dams.

DFO is looking for feedback on the draft recovery and therefore will be hosting two meetings. The first Open House is public and will be held on Monday Jan. 17, 6:30-9pm at the Coast Hotel. The second meeting is the following day from 9-5pm at the Coast Hotel also. Registration is required the day long workshop.

Salish sucker are currently found in only ten watersheds in the Fraser Valley: Bertrand Creek, Fishtrap Creek, Pepin Brook, Salmon River, Salwein Creek/Hopedale Slough, Atchelitz/Chilliwack/Semmihault Creeks, Elk Creek/Hope Slough, Mountain Slough, Agassiz Slough and Miami Creek watersheds. The draft identifies proposed critical habitats for Salish sucker in these watersheds and will establish a recovery program once the public consultations are over.

Nooksack dace (Rhinichthys cataractae) is a freshwater fish found in three watersheds containing Salish sucker both in the Aldergrove area, as well as in the Brunette watershed.

For more information go here or here.

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