Fish Enhancement Project on Heart Creek in Fauquier Gets Go-ahead
by Jan McMurray
Reprinted with kind permission by http://www.valleyvoice.ca
A project to eliminate a fish barrier at the mouth of Heart Creek in Fauquier is a go for this year. A large culvert will he replaced with a bridge, hopefully by the end of October.
“The fish want to go up that stream to spawn, but that culvert must be a six-foot jump,” said Hank Scown, president of the Nakusp Rod and Gun Club. “It’s an impossible height for those fish to leap up and get into the culvert.”
The Ministry of Transportation has partnered with the Nakusp Rod and Gun Club, the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans through its Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program, to fund the project.
Scown says there are kokanee, Rainbow trout, and probably Dolly Varden that will spawn in Heart Creek once the culvert is replaced. “Every fish that spawns means potentially many fertilized eggs and more fish that enter the Arrow Lakes,” he said.
Phase two of the project, which Scown says will happen in the “not too distant future,” will see the removal of a second culvert further upstream, opening up an additional 1.2 kilometres of stream habitat for fish.’s
Scown says that if this project proves to be beneficial to fish, “perhaps other systems along the Arrow can be assisted in a similar way. If a creek can naturally produce fish, we should be allowing that to happen.”
He points out that human beings like to manage nature, but it’s been shown over and over that we can’t. “All spawning channels have proven that,” he said. “When things go bad, all your eggs are in one basket.”
Scown said the Nakusp Rod and Gun Club has been wanting to do something about the fish barriers on Heart Creek for a long time. He believes the culverts were installed back in the late 1960’s, when the highway was realigned to accommodate the flooding of the Arrow Lakes and the construction of the High Arrow Dam at Castlegar.