Hydro to open the floodgates for spawning salmon

BC Hydro will increase the water discharge down the Campbell River

BC Hydro will turn on the taps tomorrow to provide more water for spawning salmon.

BC Hydro will increase the water discharge down the Campbell River by about threefold to provide suitable conditions for returning adult chinook salmon to spawn, BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson said.

Starting this evening, and continuing into the early morning hours of tomorrow, BC Hydro will increase the downstream flows from 30 cubic metres per second (m3/s) to about 90 m3/s at a rate of about 10 m3/s per hour.

“This will be a significant increase in river flow so the public is advised to be cautious along the river from Oct. 1 onward,” Watson said.

The 2014/2015 water supply year for BC Hydro is just about to end, and it was a year of extremely wet and then extremely dry conditions. The water supply year goes from October to September. Up to the beginning of April, it was the wettest year in BC Hydro’s records. Then it was the driest May to August on record. Overall, this year was the 13th wettest on record – with the first six months the reason why.

“BC Hydro has strived to conserve water since April when Nature’s water tap feeding into the reservoir became a trickle,” Watson said. “Now with the return of the chinook, we will increase the Campbell River flow to 90 m3/s for about two to three weeks to allow them to spawn in key river areas. The significant flow increase will provide deeper water and better spawning conditions for chinook.

“Given the extended and ongoing dry conditions, although recent rain has helped to a limited degree, BC Hydro may then drop the river flow down to about 80 m3/s later in October to balance out upstream reservoirs and the overall system. This October flow regime has been worked out in coordination with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and in consideration of the Campbell River system’s water use plan. As we move into the fall, BC Hydro will begin to shift our attention to potential flood risk management operations.”