Crews to start work on creating fish passage at Big Bar slide

Big Bar slide a 'priority'

The federal government says the Big Bar landslide, which blocked most of this year’s salmon run on the Fraser River, remains a “top priority.”

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan said on Twitter this week they have awarded a contract to Peter Kiewet Sons ULC to re-establish fish passage at the slide site.

“Thank you to the First Nations governments, the Province of B.C., and stakeholders for your collaboration,” Jordan said. “We will continue working together for a lasting solution.”

The minister says she will be visiting the slide later this week to make an announcement. Work will restart on the slide site shortly. 

The slide, north of Lillooet, B.C., was discovered in June 2019 with estimates showing 75,000 cubic metres of material deposited in the river.

The slide created a barrier to salmon trying to swim up the river to spawn.

Tl'etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse, who also represents five other local nations as tribal chairman of the Tsilhqot'in National Government, said last month Fraser River tributaries once teeming with salmon have shown paltry returns since the Big Bar landslide was discovered.

Alphonse estimated up to 170,000 sockeye returned to local tributaries this year where the annual average is closer to one million.

with files from the Canadian Press

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