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What do you think is the best option for saving the Thompson River Steelhead?

  • For a hatchery program

    Votes: 21 31.3%
  • Against a hatchery program

    Votes: 12 17.9%
  • Closing the fishery

    Votes: 18 26.9%
  • Imposing tighter regulations

    Votes: 33 49.3%

  • Total voters
    67
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Try looking at it this way - from my many years of being involved with this process, going to some of the meetings and getting consensus from people on all the different boards i believe that there are several factors against the Thompson Steelhead which i will list in their probable order of harm subjected on those fish.


1/ the Ranchers of the Nicola Valley. They ned that water for their 2nd cut of hay ...........they aren't gonna give that up

2/ the natives of the Fraser valley and the Canyon with their nets ............... 'nuff said about that

3/ the Chum fishery - in the Fraser itself, it's mouth and off the sw coast of Van island............... the data speaks for itself

4/ general ocean survival

5/ catch and release mortality by sport fishers ............. yes, the least amount of impact on the fish but still there...
You know, Tofinoguy, I have always had respect for you and appreciated your posts and contributions. Your timing has always been good, whether it's something pertinent and intelligent, or the need for something funny and lighthearted...besides that, your avatar is fantastic and makes your posts a joy to read.

I have to once again say I am really happy to see another post from you, what I quote from you above...for a while now in this thread and in the other one on this forum a few people have been asking hey, what do we need to address? What are the issues we need to tackle to try and do something for the T? Now I know, and you know, and many people here know it is a huge and daunting uphill battle to even put a minor dent in the issues, let alone trying to change things for the better and give these runs of steelhead a chance to recover, but frankly, there have been a few people saying exactly what you have said above all along...we don't even have to try one bit to see it this way, we've been begging people to see it this way from the start!

These are the major contributing factors to their decline, this is what everyone should know about the T fish to start with and what we are up against. These are the problems viewed from a broader perspective, see the big picture and more accurately defining what really is affecting our Thompson steel.

I was getting really discouraged there, there were some that seemed to have a tunnel vision that was never going to correct itself. We were arguing over one minor little detail that in the long run was going to have no effect on saving these fish even if we were 100% effective at erradicating it. So it is fantastic to see you list the contributing factors and help point out to others here a number of the most significant factors that are affecting these fish rather than dwell on just the one.

I might even be able to sit back and just read now rather than try to steer the discussion and worry we were getting bogged down like it was before...

My sincerest thanks to you now but also to the others here who have shown a clarity of thought on the issue, I am relieved to see a refreshed view, a second look and reassessment, I hope also that others will do the same, but whether they do or not, please keep it up...

:cheers::cheers::cheers:
 

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Ribby, you always come through with formative thought, and we all appreciate it. BCFR is a great forum that exists to enhance our plight, and the only way we will get there is if we draw out from all posts a sense of shared purpose This is what you have done here and on other contentious threads. I applaud your effort to encourage 'short posters' (those that fire off a knee jerk reaction) to exercise some self control before they post. And if they do, at least add something to the conversation, not just take the black or white side of a debate and sprinkle it with a couple of expletives or capital letters. And yes, thanks Shawn for your thoughts!
 

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This thread is a great read! Could some that know, explain the water use issues? I know in theory, but what are the tribs that have been most affected by water use and how can this be changed? Is it possible to restore some of these?
 

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Where is Jet Boat Jim? I'm pretty sure I remember him talking about working on water use issues in the Nicola Valley.
 

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This thread is a great read! Could some that know, explain the water use issues? I know in theory, but what are the tribs that have been most affected by water use and how can this be changed? Is it possible to restore some of these?
That's coming, Ribby is woking on it. Ranch land use of water is a huge issue. Nicola, Deadman, Coldwater are all tribs that are Salmon and Steelhead nurseries that would benefit from water use restrictions.
 

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That's coming, Ribby is woking on it. Ranch land use of water is a huge issue. Nicola, Deadman, Coldwater are all tribs that are Salmon and Steelhead nurseries that would benefit from water use restrictions.
Yes, working on a very particular perspective on it that may not have been covered much before...

Where is Jet Boat Jim? I'm pretty sure I remember him talking about working on water use issues in the Nicola Valley.
...and will also definitely give Jim a call and maybe someone else too and let them know we would really appreciate their appearance in here...

Thanks for joining in Hue-nut, have been hoping you would enter the fray. Am a huge fan of your pics and wish you would create an album so we could check them out regularly as you take new ones...

Will get back to you on the other stuff.

:cheers:
 

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Is all the water use from rivers or is some from lakes? If not why not?
Good question, not sure, but many Interior Lakes are drinking watersheds for communities and many were man made (damned creeks etc).

Another issue is bank erosion due to cattle ranches. Loss of spawning habitat.
 

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Re: water usage tributaries and question by hue nut, arrgh!...

There are many tribs on the T that support the various strains...I have some issue with naming them however, so will stop short of specifically naming them for now. I will simply state that a common theme to these tribs is they create lush and fertile land, and/or provide an opportunity to use their waters to do so...and obviously are a prime source of water in dry country...any farmer would see that as an opportune place to farm their crop.

I do not pretend to fully understand the degree of impact onj differing aspects of the problem that farming these lands might have, obviously it limits and/or damages spawning and rearing habitat be it simply through reduced flows or leaching agricultural deposits into the surrounding soils and in turn back into the reduced flow of the creek and then the Thompson itself...I suspect phosphate and nitrogen levels aren't as much an issue as the water levels themselves, but I could be wrong on that...the point being not enough water for the adults or the juveniles and this combines to further limit the capacity/numbers of fish it can sustain.

I will point out that without going into too much detail, I wonder at the opportunity of groundwater extraction...I have been recently given the opportunity to go back to school for a short while, sent there to be precise by the research agency I work for. They are not too particular about the courses I take, and I have some leeway...as such one I have chosen is a groundwater hydrology course. This by no means makes me an expert, but I have recently studied the groundwater tables near the highland valley mines...it is an extensive area well above the levels of the T and not related at all, and yet the mines have to pump water out on a regular basis in order to mine where they wish to. Now don't get me wrong, I am not proposing that water be used as a replacement for the creek waters that are currently being taken, I am not sure it would be enough water and that would be way too easy a solution anyways wouldn't it...? Likely some reasoning would be made against it, ie too expensive to trasnport that water or what have you. If a special interest group were willing to foot the bill though, well, now that might be a different story altogether. You may see where I am going with this, but i will elaborate further...

Almost all rivers arise in part due to some immediate contact between the landscape and a groundwater table...in fact rivers are almost always where the groundwater table comes in contact with the surface, but even more importantly, groundwater is dynamic, and variable...you can often find aquifers in one area, and then more in another...sometimes even more viable options are available nearby that were never realized before. Ie: Aquifers above others, water storage is a very common theme all over the province. Geological boundaries help facilitate this separation of aquifers, and farmers scramble to find water in one place only to run out and have to look for more nearby, then they find a replenishable source where they didn't quite expect it. Conversely, as in the mines case, they have to pump the water out because it interferes with their work, so they know that area really well, but nearby areas are poorly understood because it doesn't affect their work...

So perhaps other aquifers are not even identified nearer the T. Why would the farmers bother...they have great sources of water right there in the creeks. What you see more often than not is a lack of exploration because one source is deemed as good as the other and once it is found and replienishable, why would there be any need to look for other sources, right...?

So in the case of the T, is one aquifer as good as the other...or could others be found nearby? How does it work there exactly...? It would require far too much to go into it here, but suffice it to say, often just the geology alone can lead to a relatively good presumption of what water could be avialable to local farmland without requiring drawdown from local tribs. In this case given the geography of the the land, the Thompson valley and the highlands and lowlands that rest above it, I suspect there is a good chance for other aquifers in that area, there could be suspended aquifers, lenses, recharge areas, etc...they just have to be found and tested. They will not be visible from the surface, but have to be drilled for. I am currently looking into historical drilling data in the area to see if work has already been done or if they stopped when some/enough water was found...If I find very little work has been done, perhaps some optimism can be found with regards to this angle.

Ground water tables are a primary source for irrigation almost everywhere, especially when there are no nearby flows to be relied upon...who wants to bet with that many creeks flowing nearby that the farmers and MoE didn't really bother to explore many other options...? All that would need to be done is to conduct some surveys, drill wells for sampling, detail and model the local geology and groundwater and then determine volume and accuracy of those models by actually extracting the water in expected amounts...it would probably cost a fair penny, but perhaps a lot of that work has already been done and less effort would need to be made to achieve the end result.

With regards to Arrgh! question about the lakes...well it ties hand in hand with this to some extent in that lakes are a result of a groundwater table table coming in contact with the ground surface, and may be another option if the money were there to make it happen and the farmers would oblige. There may be other obstacles we haven't considered here, so speak your minds people if you think of something. One thing I will add about using non Thompson creeks or lakes nearby is which ecosystem or species is more important then another...? Ie: what if some alternate water source were found and suddenly the tribs of the T could be restored to much improved condition, and then some special interest group is upset that the little creeks and ponds now affected by the new water drawdown supported some endangered frog or something...there are many potential obstacles but the idea must have been considered before one would think.

I am often naively optimistic, or at times just really hopeful a solution will show itself, eventually one or the other wins out, here's hoping the latter bears true...If there are any groundwater hydrologists in the crowd, now would be a great time to speak up...geologists with local knowledge might be helpful too...

I'll try and explore that a bit as I have time, but for now hopefully that inspires some thought, and maybe Jim and Harps will jump in with other details to consider about the T as well...

For now here's a link to some immediate provincial data regarding groundwater resources in the area, although Bonaparte etc are listed and obviously important tribs to the T, there are other data to suggest options are already there and/or additional ones could be found. (lots of interesting stuff there, but one that jumps out as you read are mercury levels in the Deadman watershed)

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wsd/plan_protect_sustain/groundwater/gwbc/C1011_Thompson_Plateau.html
 

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Now you're getting on the right track, Rib.

There were several meeting back in the early 90's regarding these water issues where the the Steelhead Society was involved but nothing was ever resolved. Too bad.
 

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I have been busy bow hunting , I relised that the state of the fishery is just going down hill.....so I'm jumpin from that ship...lol (kidding)

but really if you really care about the fish do something about it! The SSBC the kingfishers and several other groups have always been working on some solutions or just plain help for the fish.
I really think the biggest problem we face right now is GREED , from all sectors.

you can come here......

ssbc_bourbon.jpg
 

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Im not able to attend. Where can persons who cannot attend and want to donate to this worthy cause send thier cheques? Thanks
 

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My question about lakes was actually about that very area. Big OK Lake is an old Highland Valley tailings pond. My thought was more directed at artificial reservoirs to contain water when there was lots and and irrigate with it when there was little. No doubt it would be more expensive than just pumping it in from the creeks and rivers but maybe would have less effect at the most vulnerable times. Obviously all the water used gets back into the system at some point. The problem is when.....
 

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The problem is when.....
as far as most farmers are concerned...."if it aint broke- then dont fix it"......they worry about their living, and to change the low cost water systems they have in place is impossible.

some....a very few are willing to help out with changing the old ways
 

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Just a thought from a fly fisherman who has fished the Thompson a few times.I have never touched a fish but the experience of being able to swing a fly through one of the great wild rivers of the world is second to none. The Thompson, along with other rivers that are able to support a run of wild fish, should stay that way as they are so few now and will become fewer still if petro chemical and natural gas interests are allowed to stake their claim to reserves in the Skeena headwaters region and other areas throughout BC. I do no support a hatchery on the T but realize that this precious run of wild fish cannot survive without the help of people who care, namely us the recreational anglers. All of the factors mentioned in this thread have impact, the least of which is the sport fishermen on the T itself. The lower Fraser sport fishery has to have a negative effect due to the sheer numbers of people who line her banks each summer for Sockeye and Springs. The commercial and native net fisheries also being major negative contributors. Certainly more scientific evidence is needed before any hard conclusions or regulations can be imposed but in the meantime while this work is being done, preferably by the ministry of environment, would a limited entry system similar to what is done in hunting work for the T? This is just my two cents but I would be interested to hear what more of you who have fished the Thompson think of this idea. This is an excellent thread and the importance of the contributions to this forum cannot be overstated. As long as we are talking about things that are sacred to us, it shows that we care and that something can be done. Keep it up!
 

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...The SSBC, the kingfishers and several other groups have always been working on some solutions or just plain help for the fish.
I really think the biggest problem we face right now is GREED , from all sectors.

you can come here......

View attachment 6071
Hey Jim...thanks for coming in.

If you have time maybe you could provide a little more details about the habitat project that the funds are being raised for...there's been a hatchery there for quite some time so people might be wondering if the funds are going towards steelhead production or habitat enhancement on the creek to improve salmon runs.

One thing many don't consider at first is the salmon bring nutrients back to the river from the ocean, which helps in river juvenile steelhead indirectly by supplying nutrients to the system.

I suppose habitat work on spius would at the same time improve the chances for any adult steelhead that use the creek to spawn as well, what's the plan re the type of work that's going to be done...shed some more light on it for us will ya...?

My question about lakes was actually about that very area. Big OK Lake is an old Highland Valley tailings pond. My thought was more directed at artificial reservoirs to contain water when there was lots and and irrigate with it when there was little. No doubt it would be more expensive than just pumping it in from the creeks and rivers but maybe would have less effect at the most vulnerable times. Obviously all the water used gets back into the system at some point. The problem is when.....
Hey Arrgh! Yes I was thinking the same thing, my sense is giving them an alternate source of water would be a relatively cheap solution to part of the problem...it would be interesting to see how far that angle had been explored.

I'd like to hear more about the Spius creek work...I like the idea and it obviously has legs given the support it garnishes from those that work year round to try and save these fish and the society that tries to protect them so it definitely deserves our support as well...

Would like to get some specifics though, am looking for more details and will post here if I can find them.

Thanks again Jim for jumping in...
 

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the SSBC does not support hatchery programs,the money raised will go to habitat work.... a hatchery program on the thompson is a waste of time and energy.......why you ask?

Its a proven fact that once you stop the hatchery program the fish stop comming back, a hatchery is a good "band-aid" but not a long term solution.

everyone getting along .....now thats a good start!
 

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the SSBC does not support hatchery programs,the money raised will go to habitat work.... a hatchery program on the thompson is a waste of time and energy.......why you ask?

Its a proven fact that once you stop the hatchery program the fish stop comming back, a hatchery is a good "band-aid" but not a long term solution.

everyone getting along .....now thats a good start!
Could not agree more Jim. :cheers: sage
 
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