Provincial, federal governments and First Nations work together to address Big Bar rockslide

News release

July 19, 2019

Victoria, BC — Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and B.C. Premier John Horgan have confirmed their joint determination to do everything possible to ensure Fraser River chinook, steelhead, coho and sockeye are able to navigate past the Big Bar slide to their spawning grounds.

The federal-provincial commitment came during a brief meeting in Victoria on July 18, at which Premier Horgan updated the Prime Minister on the collaboration to date to overcome the rock slide that threatens to block the river to millions of returning salmon. “Although the challenges ahead are significant, I want to express my sincere thanks to all those working hard to protect the millions of salmon that will soon be arriving to their spawning grounds,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Yesterday, Premier John Horgan discussed the severity of this issue directly with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and I’m proud to say that with support from First Nations, the team has developed a multi-pronged plan to address the changing river conditions and the risk to the salmon.”

Over the past weeks, experts from the three levels of government have worked to develop a series of parallel responses to the slide that will allow them to respond to the rapidly changing conditions on the river. Crews have been dropping some rock and scale into the area and will soon begin manipulating larger rocks to improve the passage of fish. 

“Our government, alongside the Government of B.C., and First Nations communities, is working around the clock to ensure we do everything possible to see the fish pass safely in the Fraser River,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “DFO officials and members of the Canadian Coast Guard have been on the ground since Day One and have been working with local partners to reach a solution. Collaborative efforts like this one, with all partners, including local First Nations, the Premier of B.C. and Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, are crucial and will give the best chance of survival to these stocks.”

The cross-departmental team is also constructing a temporary aluminium fishway, testing options for helicopter and truck transport, and assessing the feasibility of new fish transport systems. As a result of these parallel planning efforts, the team will be able to escalate their response to changing conditions as they get better information on how successfully the salmon are passing the slide site.

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Contacts

Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard
343-548-7863
Jocelyn.lubczuk@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
613-990-7537
Media.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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