B.C. to continue gravel removal, despite salmon deaths
Friday, November 13 2009 @ 11:19 AM EST
Contributed by: jkr
VANCOUVER — The British Columbia government plans to remove gravel from the Fraser River this winter despite a federal auditor general report that found the extraction has killed up to 2.25 million young pink salmon.
Dwayne Meredith, manager of strategic mitigation programs with Emergency Management B.C., said he expects gravel to be extracted from January to March due to flooding concerns while B.C. and Ottawa negotiate a new long-term agreement.
"We have every anticipation of removing gravel," he said in an interview from Victoria.
Rebecca Reid, regional director of habitat and enhancement for the federal Fisheries Department, said the new agreement will address issues such as monitoring gravel removal, consulting with First Nations and communications between the two governments.
The Fraser River Gravel Removal Stewardship Committee urged Ottawa on Thursday not to enter into any long-term agreements with B.C., pending the results of a commission of inquiry, announced by the federal Conservatives last week, into the collapse of Fraser River sockeye runs.
Committee spokesman Otto Langer, a former Fisheries Department biologist, said that Ottawa once prosecuted people for gravel removal but now promotes the activity.