We had another good turnout for our regular monthly meeting of the Horsefly River Roundtable March 15 with four people joining by telephone conferencing as well.
The FRISP (Farmland Riparian Interface Stewardship Program) workshop has been put on hold due to different parameters being imposed by the governments involved. My interpretation of the conditions is that a far more inclusive plan is going to be required, one which includes not only riparian issues, but forestry, natural wildlife inclusion or not, a land-use management plan, and a long-term approach with specific goals.
Once all these objectives are met, funding would be available. We shall have to wait for Lee Hesketh to update us when the workshop will be held. There might be a possible field visit with Hesketh if the snow has sufficiently melted away.
The report for our coordinator funding has been completed. This is the last year for this funding, so next year will be a challenge.
Six detailed work plans for field work have been developed by Steve Hocquard and Richard Case. This was made possible through Fraser Salmon and Watersheds funding, and a lot of volunteer time by Hooquard and Case.
The roundtable will immediately attempt to secure funding for completion, although some work has already progressed through other sources. The projects to be undertaken are three areas on Woodjam Creek, plus improvements to Kroener Creek and Sucker Creek. Barker Creek culvert is a separate project with DFO and TLC cooperating with the land owner on a culvert to promote a better riparian situation in a specific area.
The roundtable is hoping to have either Bob Harding or Rick Brundridge (or both) give us an update on the Fisheries Habitat Index Mapping project on the Quesnel and Horsefly Lakes. Barry Booth is expected to give an update on Land Conservancy projects in our area plus the rest of B.C. The roundtable is hoping to have Cariboo Regional District representative for Area F Joan Sorely explain how the CRD can help with roundtable objectives.
Arts on the Fly is having a chili cook-off which the roundtable will try to muster a team of people to enter, and get some exposure as well as win first prize.
The annual Salmon Festival was discussed with respect to funding issues, a co-ordinator (same as last year), and the expected low sockeye returns which may affect any Gyotaku demonstrations or First Nations drying rack demonstration, as well as increasing invitations to local artisans to set up by the river as well as in the local fairground area.
We will invite the Vintage Car Club again which was a real hit last year. 2014 is, according to DFO predictions, going to be a large escapement, and should be a good run. DFO is not going to open the spawning channel this year due to the expected low returns. I, Bruce MacLeod, met Hansen on Sunday, March 25, and handed him an invitation for him and his family to be our guests at the Salmon Festival.
In what seems like an excellent move, the Ministry of Environment is initiating a process of Land Reserve designation to protect fish and wildlife habitat in the Horsefly River areas. There will be more information on this as we receive it. A discussion regarding communication via cellphones took place with the roundtable acknowledging we support these efforts, but it was more the board of trade’s department of expertise.
I brought up a communication from Barry Booth of the Land Conservancy of B.C. regarding the removal by the Harper government of the word “habitat” from the fisheries act as amended in 1976.
This is seen as a step backward in time and a real danger to the environment in general. Members were encouraged to go on the Internet and read the significant changes. There will be a discussion regarding this change at the next roundtable meeting which will be held at the Horsefly Library at 7 p.m. April 19.