DFO cutbacks worry Horsefly River round table

Horsefly River Roundtable report for the July 19, 2012 meeting,

Horsefly River Roundtable report for the July 19, 2012 meeting:

I will attend to housekeeping first: I made an error in reference to Gordon Sterritt in my last round table report.

I referred to him as the head of the NSTC, when in fact he is head of the NSTC fisheries resources department since 2005.

Joan Sorely, Cariboo Regional District Area F director, was a guest at our July 19 meeting and reported what she knew regarding the bass situation in the Beaver Lakes.

There have been no more reports of bass in Big Lake.

Judy Hillaby, Department of Fisheries and Oceans representative to the roundtable, stated that the bass are a long, drawn-out process of domination, and are pretty well here for the duration.  It is a decade- long problem.

No one in the room was in favour of using poison to kill everything in the Beaver Lakes and then start over again.

The thought is that poison is simply too outrageous, and there is no funding for anything right now.

The CRD trail project was discussed and it was decided to stockpile as much conveyor belting that we get from Gibraltar Mine as we could get before making a decision on how to utilize it all, and it was decided to go ahead and design and install a gate at the spawning channel crossing to prevent dirt bikes from accessing the Salmon Walk.

DFO has approved cementing (spreading a layer of cement powder over a well-packed gravel trail) for parts of the trail where it can be utilized to the best advantage. The gravel trail is probably fine as long as the dirt bikers stay off it. We need some parental supervision on the culprits who are causing us so much grief.

The Salmon Festival was discussed inasmuch as all systems are going full speed.  Michael Strauch has updated our web site (horseflyriver.ca) to be more recent and up to date.

Jacinda Mack has assured us there will be a salmon drying/smoking rack on display in action as well as the NSTC informational table, so we are pleased to have First Nations participation on the Labour Day weekend.

Thanks were extended to Randy Grosse for his help in the campground across the river. Grosse installed our portable accessible washroom/outhouse for us.

I read a communication from Pharis Patenaude (Arts on the Fly) regarding future plans for clean-up after festivals as well as security to prevent people accessing riparian areas with their campers.

Several roundtable members expressed a willingness to volunteer for the park clean up next year to help Arts on the Fly.

DFO cutbacks were briefly discussed. The Quesnel office is shutting down.

DFO staff expects that the cutting is not over, as some field offices are being closed completely and many staff members are affected.

Some are considering early retirement. There is much concern at the roundtable regarding the habitat protection, bill C-38, DFO layoffs, etc.

The whole situation is alarming in light of the latest study over a 30-year period revealed that the survival rate of sockeye has dwindled from 20 to four per spawning female. In numerical terms that is four fry return to the ocean per every 2,500 to 3,000 eggs.

Roy Argue will be hosting an interpretive walk for the local population and anyone else who wishes to learn, along the salmon trail sometime in the future, and in advance of the Salmon Festival.

This will be very interesting, and posters will be posted and phone calls made when we know the exact date.

The roundtable is actively seeking funds to repair the Woodjam Creek before it gets any worse, but have had no luck to date.

In the last report I stated the cost was about $70,000 when in fact it is closer to $80,000.  Still, a small amount when you consider the benefits.

The next roundtable meeting is on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Horsefly Library.

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