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.
“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.
Winter construction to improve salmon passage is moving forward at the #BigBarLandslide site & we’re establishing 2 technical working groups that will develop contingency plans as needed – together, we are taking swift & sustained action for the health of wild Pacific salmon. pic.twitter.com/CXoDjosK4u
— Bernadette Jordan (@BernJordanMP) January 18, 2020
Work to create a new passage will begin immediately, until mid-to-late March and by the upcoming migration season.
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: