BC Hydro, the We Wai Kai and the Wei Wai Kum in collaboration with the Salmon River Diversion Adult Fish Passage Committee have reached a landmark agreement to build a fish passageway around a 54-year-old diversion dam on the Salmon River.
Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro’s Executive Vice President of Generation, said: “I am particularly pleased that this is our first significant fish enhancement project with the We Wai Kai and the Wei Wai Kum Nations.”
The existing 89-metre long, 5.5-metre high rock-fill timber framed diversion dam was constructed on the Salmon River between Campbell River and Sayward in 1958 to divert water into the Campbell River hydroelectric system.
It has been an obstacle, and in some cases a barrier, to steelhead and salmon migration.
In a joint statement We Wai Kai Chief Ralph Dick and Wei Wai Kum Chief Bob Pollard said:
“We are pleased to be involved in a process with BC Hydro and the wider Campbell River community to provide a significant fish enhancement project and improve salmon populations that are so important to our people. We are eager to get started.”
Mike Gage, Chair of Campbell River Salmon Foundation, said:
“We’ve already put a lot of work into the fish passage options at the diversion dam and look forward to the work proceeding. This important project is all about partnerships and we would like to have the fish passage works in place as soon as possible. This will be a boon for steelhead, coho and chinook.”
The first meeting about the new fish passage project between BC Hydro, the We Wai Kai and the Wei Wai Kum, and the broader committee will be held in November.
The fish passage on the Salmon River is expected to be in place by 2015 or earlier.