Seining fish near the Big Bar landslide site in order to place them in the holding pond before transport. (Courtesy of Incident Command Post) Seining fish near the Big Bar landslide site in order to place them in a holding pond before transport. (Courtesy of Incident Command Post)

VIDEO: Trapped fish at landslide site on the Fraser get visit from B.C. premier

Transportation of salmon by chopper in oxygenated tanks is slow-going work

The Big Bar landslide site was visited by Premier John Horgan Wednesday where experts are still working against the clock to get trapped salmon past the obstruction on the Fraser River.

“The rock scalers, scientists, First Nations and many others working tirelessly to help Fraser salmon over the Big Bar slide are doing an extraordinary job,” Premier Horgan said.

“But it will be at least a week before they’ll know if they’ve been successful.”

The scale of the collaborative efforts by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Province of B.C., First Nations and fish biologists and other experts is “unprecedented,” Horgan said.

About 80 personnel are assigned to the vexing incident on any given day. The landslide dropped a massive chunk of rock into the river last fall which is now blocking fish passage, and the slide was only discovered by officials in June.

Since then officials have been striving to stabilize the site, restore an open passage for migrating fish, and ensure they can get upstream to their spawning grounds.

Some methods to free the fish have been tested and rejected for technical reasons. Others are still under consideration.

A fish wheel from Rivers Inlet, using baskets and the power of the moving water, will be installed shortly to test its fish-lifting ability.

The use of helicopters carrying oxygenated fish-holding tanks is being tested to transfer a small number of fish above the slide.

“This system may assist with transporting small numbers of fish from early runs above the slide site, but is not a practical way of moving large numbers of fish,” according to the update from the Incident Command Post.

The idea of trucking salmon past the slide area is also being evaluated, and they’re also looking at

carefully dropping large rocks into the river to recreate a natural fish ladder.

“Aluminum fish ladders are being constructed and will be on-site within the next two weeks, ready to be deployed in the river by a helicopter when river conditions are suitable, to assist with fish passage.”

Scaling crews are slogging away on the face of the landslide to prepare a safe work area for rock work below. Helicopters are assisting with sluicing, which sees choppers dropping water from buckets to remove loose rock.

On Tuesday, Canadian Coast Guard personnel and river specialists were downstream of the slide, to assess water flow and conditions.

“Water conditions were found to be extremely hazardous due to the erratic and fast moving current.”

Updates can be found here on the incident website

READ MORE: Multifaceted plan to free the fish

READ MORE: Experts called to help


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Port Alberni rallies for mill workers

Fundraisers helping ease the sting of five months without work

Dive team searching for missing Cowichan fisherman

Bill Court said family and friends are actively engaged in the search

Port Alberni cools its heels over ice plant, waits for manufacturer to arrive

Technical Safety BC angling for formal recommendations over ammonia leak

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperative breeding program

’Tis the season for holiday cheer with a Ken Lavigne Christmas

Enjoy the magic of the season with the region’s largest indoor snowball fight

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

Youth airlifted off Mount Tzouhalem after mountain biking accident

A boy was airlifted to hospital Saturday afternoon following an accident on… Continue reading

Cowichan students kept indoors as police search for man with knife

Staff initiated a Hold and Secure protocol at both Tansor Elementary and École Mount Prevost

Salvation Army kettle campaign targets $200,000 for Island residents in need

Goal is to raise $250,000 this year for Vancouver Island residents needing support

West Shore RCMP spend four hours searching for roving hikers

RCMP say stay put once you’ve called for help and listen to instructions

Body found in Central Saanich waste recycling facility deemed non-suspicious

Coroners Service investigating circumstances of death

Most Read