Salmon festival coming up Sept. 27 on BC Rivers Day

An even dozen people participated at the regular meeting of the Horsefly River Roundtable May 15 at the Horsefly Library.

An even dozen people participated at the regular meeting of the Horsefly River Roundtable May 15 at the Horsefly Library.  There was a full agenda, and it was a two-hour meeting.

We have funding for a new outhouse at the campground across the bridge, so as soon as the river level has dropped we will be proceeding with this project.

The annual salmon festival will take place on the BC Rivers Day weekend, September 27 and 28 this year with the Arts on the Fly providing entertainment on Saturday night at the Community Hall. There will be a photo contest, criteria not decided as yet, so camera buffs be prepared.

The agreement for the Roundtable to manage the Department of Fisheries and Oceans land where the salmon spawning channel is located, the campground area and now the Riparian Park area is almost complete for another five year term.

The Arts on the Fly committee were also present at the meeting, and assured us there will be tight security at their next festival to prevent out-of-town teens from taking advantage of the time to party in the campground.  That will not happen this year.

There have been some misconceptions regarding the Roundtable involvement with the Environmental Farm Group Plan.  The following is the clear concept as explained by Steve Hocquard:

“ARDCorp (BC Agricultural Research & Development Corporation) has accepted a Letter of Intent from the HRR regarding an Environmental Farm Plan Group Plan for Horsefly and Beaver Valley. The next step in the process will be working with Farm Plan Advisor Cathy Mumford to complete a Planning Proposal, which will focus on agricultural — environmental risk assessments for our local watersheds. Beginning in June, local agricultural producers will be contacted and invited to participate in the process of identifying and prioritizing local environmental issues. If successful, the Group Farm Plan may provide increased funding incentives to eligible producers.”

The HRR will be working with Mount Polley Mining Corporation to restore fish habitat as part of a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Offset Plan. Offset Plans were introduced with the recently revised fisheries legislation which requires restoration efforts as compensation for unavoidable damage to fish habitat. The legislation requires these restoration efforts to focus on DFO fisheries management objectives and priorities. The HRR maintains close communication with DFO habitat biologists on these management issues and is pleased to have an opportunity to collaborate with Mount Polley in addressing one of the priorities.

The Smallmouth Bass plan of action is still being put together, and will be discussed at the next meeting in June.

This is the first meeting I have attended in person for some time, and I was struck by the 100 per cent opposition to even proceeding with stage one of the three proposed independent pump and power projects. One former DFO biologist who was working in 2010 when the five other IPPs were turned down described the impact of these IPPs on the environment, wildlife, fish and people as “catastrophic.”  A local rancher/trapper whose trapline is in the Hen Ingram Lake area also wrote a letter to the roundtable, expressing his concerns over the proposed power project.

The Horsefly Community Club is forwarding a letter to the proponent asking for a town hall meeting as the proponent has indicated this is a part of the process. The roundtable concurs.

Stage one of the Woodjam Creek Restoration Project will be completed by the end of May or early June; stage two will start in late August, as well as stage three possible reparations to Kroener Creek. These reparations are something the Roundtable is extremely proud of doing in tandem with DFO and the land owner, and have a positive impact on the fish habitat.

It was noted that despite signage all over the place warning motor bikers that our salmon trail is for pedestrian and disabled traffic only, people still don’t give a darn about the thousands of dollars the Roundtable spends on an annual basis to maintain the damage done by thoughtless children on their toys.

I was asked to put a gentle reminder to these individuals to please cease your destructive actions. Some future projects include; clean up of old dump sites, stream clean up at Little Horsefly River, and bass control among others, so there is much to do and it is possible we will put out a call for volunteers in late July or early August.  We will put notices out. The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, June 19 at the Horsefly Library.