Fish studies continue on Quesnel Lake after mine breach

Rainbow trout continue to be monitored in Quesnel Lake six years after the Mount Polley Mine breach.Rainbow trout continue to be monitored in Quesnel Lake six years after the Mount Polley Mine breach.
Quesnel Lake is the focus of a number of studies such as the impact on water and fish following the Mount Polley Mine breach. (Angie Mindus photos - Williams Lake Tribune)Quesnel Lake is the focus of a number of studies such as the impact on water and fish following the Mount Polley Mine breach. (Angie Mindus photos - Williams Lake Tribune)

A year before the Mount Polley Mine breach in August 2014, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Develpment (FLNRRD) began monitoring the survival of adult trout in Quesnel Lake using acoustic telemetry.

Since then no change in survival of adult trout in the lake has been detected and FLNRRD will continue to monitor survival on an annual basis, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment told the Tribune in an e-mailed response.

So far 95 adult trout were implanted with acoustic tags in 2019 and another 95 will be tagged in 2020.

Each, individually tagged fish can be tracked for three years.

Under the Environmental Management Act Permit, the ministry of environment said it requires Mount Polley Mine Corporation (MPMC) to collect all mine site runoff and treat the effluent to meet BC Water Quality Guidelines at the edge of the initial dilution zone in Quesnel Lake where it is released through the diffuser pipe.

Read more: Quesnel Lake fish study gets green light to continue critical work

Monitoring results from MPMC show copper concentrations in Quesnel Lake West Basin sediment remain above concentrations at reference sites, since the breach, and that concentrations in lake trout ovaries and manganese concentrations in pikeminnow whole body tissue are higher in Quesnel West Arm than at reference sites.

“In Quesnel Lake, average fish muscle tissue concentrations of bioaccumulating metals are not exceeding B.C. guidelines for high consumption of the fish,” the spokeperson noted.

Under its environmental management act permit, the mine is required to conduct comprehensive monitoring of Quesnel Lake and other lakes and creeks in the vicinity to determine potential impacts to water quality, sediment quality, biota – including fish – and human users, the ministry spokesperson confirmed.

Monitoring requirements are summarized in the mine’s comprehensive environmental monitoring plan and include water quality, sediment quality, invertebrate and algal monitoring, available copper concentrations at depths as well as fish tissue sampling in the west arm of Quesnel Lake in order to assess the effects related to the breach as well as the ongoing discharge to Quesnel Lake.

In response to concerns about algae blooms in Quesnel Lake raised by Likely residents in the fall of 2019, the MOE is monitoring nutrients in the Western Basin of the West Arm.

“The ministry will be able to discuss the currently collected water quality results and any comparisons to previous years’ data later in 2020 once the collection and analysis is completed,” a spokesperson noted Monday, adding the ministry is coordinating with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Quesnel River Research Centre UNBC on water quality sampling in the West Arm and sharing the information in regular conference calls.

Read more: Sockeye salmon return in droves to Quesnel Lake watershed



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CariboominingMount Polley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in South Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Rotary Club of Williams Lake members, including president Mike Austin (second from left), cook up breakfasts during a Stampede breakfast this past summer. (Photo submitted)
ROTARY MONTH: Rotary Club of Williams Lake looking to get back to business

While COVID-19 made most of 2020 and the start of the new… Continue reading

Tribune columnist Jim Hilton captured this photo of the forest floor during a hike in the Helmken Falls area at Wells Gray Provinicial Park. (Jim Hilton photo)
FOREST INK: Forests and its connection to human health, part one

Urbanization and modern lifestyle have diminished possibilities for human contact with nature

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake physician part of COSMIC Medical group developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read