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

Accent Inns, United Way team up to cover hotel costs for Greater Victoria essential service workers

Hotels for Frontline Workers Fund gives B.C. frontline workers a place to sleep away from their families

Royal BC Museum joins home education trend with outreach programs

Free webinar options available for RBCM@Home and kids’ programs, starting March 31

Victoria councillors propose waiving parkade fees to support essential workers

Motion coming to committee of the whole for consideration

Woman comes home to ‘entirely different’ Victoria after cruise ship, military base quarantine

Melanie Sibbitt booked herself a last-minute vacation on a cruise ship hit by COVID-19

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

Canada to spend $2B more on procuring medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

Government has signed deals with three companies

World COVID-19 updates: Putin may be exposed; 30,000 prisoners released

Comprehensive news update from around the world as of Tuesday, March 31.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

‘This is no joke’: B.C. woman in Alberta hospital asks people to stay home during COVID-19

‘I want people to start listening to what the doctors are saying. This is no joke, please stay home’

Rest stops barring washroom access to truckers a ‘huge problem’ as COVID-19 spreads

Teamsters Canada says truckers are increasingly being denied warm meals

Canadians asked to wash mailboxes, keep dogs at bay, to ensure safe mail delivery

Four postal workers in Canada have tested positive for COVID-19 infection:

Hospitality workers hit ‘first and hit hardest,’ says union seeking more support

Union represents workers in hotels, casinos, airports, arenas, universities, schools and remote resource camps

Most Read