Seymour Salmonid Society is a non-profit organization that operates the Seymour River Fish Hatchery and Education Centre. We enhance salmon populations and encourage proper management of fisheries in the Seymour River. Our mission is to educate the public about the value of the Seymour River and the salmonids it supports as a resource for everyone living in British Columbia.
JANUARY 19, 2016
The 2016 season is underway! We will continue to use our dedicated broodstock anglers to help bolster our stock on hand and eventually move excess above the slide. Please note that anglers are operating under Federal and Provincial scientific collection permits – there is no public retention of steelhead in the Seymour River.
Depending on river conditions, we may augment these efforts with more tangle-netting sessions. Keep an eye on your email for upcoming volunteer opportunities on the river! If you are not on our email list, you can sign up to receive all volunteer opportunities by email by filling out our volunteer form.
The floating fish fence is set to be installed in the spring of this year. The fence will be operational approximately six months
of the year until passageway through the slide can be restored. It has the potential to provide us with high-precision stock assessment data for all migratory species in the river which will allow us to manage the Seymour more effectively.
An agreement in principle regarding a permanent mitigation method for the rockslide has been reached by Seymour Round-Table members from six levels of government including Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Metro Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, Squamish First Nations and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
Northwest Hydraulic Consultants and BGC Engineering will re-shape the slide debris with scaling crews, low-velocity explosive rock-breaking and river flows. The method uses non-conventional rock breaking techniques and will require limited heavy equipment. River hydraulics will redistribute 10 000 – 20 000 m3 of material into a gradient that can be utilized by all salmon species. This method would be the safest and least disruptive to the surrounding ecosystem and will likely take between two and five years.
Our vision statement for the Seymour Rockslide Mitigation Project is
“To restore migration conditions for all species in the Seymour River that existed before the 2014 rockslide, in a safe and sustainable manner.”
This project will require a large amount of funding. We have applied to a number of grants to help assist us in this matter. To donate directly to the rockslide mitigation efforts, please click the Fundraise for the Rockslide button on the right-hand side of this page.
Our next step is to host a public forum. Details will be posted here once they have been confirmed.
SALMON COLLECTION & TAGGING PROJECT
On December 7, 2014, a rock fall estimated at 50,000 cubic meters, impacted the Seymour River, at a location at the upstream end of the lower canyon. The debris field from this slide raised the water level in the river some 10 meters creating
a blockage to downstream-migrating juveniles and upstream-migrating adult salmon. The upper Seymour River, above the rock fall, contains the large majority of the productive salmon habitat in the watershed, and therefore there are justified concerns about the health of the Seymour River salmon run in coming years, if migration past the rock fall is not restored. In fact, coho and steelhead could be reduced to remnant populations by as early as 2019 if we are unable to mitigate the effects of the slide.
To scientifically confirm whether or not fish are able to pass through the debris, juvenile steelhead were acoustically tagged and adult coho and steelhead were radio tagged. Pacific Salmon Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, UBC, Kintama & Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC contributed emergency funding and equipment for the tagging programs. Receivers were placed at both the downstream and upstream end of the slide and mobile trackers were deployed. To date no fish have been detected by fixed or mobile receivers.
Snorkel surveys conducted in July of 2015 confirmed that a number of fish were holding in two pools directly below the slide debris.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is working in partnership with the Seymour Salmonid Society, Metro Vancouver, Squamish Nation, Tsleil Waututh Nation and North Vancouver District, to attempt an emergency rescue effort to capture returning salmon in the lower Seymour River. Salmon recovered from these efforts will be placed in transport tanks and transported to the Seymour River Hatchery until target broodstock numbers are achieved. Surplus fish will be released directly into the upper Seymour River, above the slide and below the dam.
Initially, a PVC and net trap was set up in the lower river adjacent to the Squamish Nation Band Office. High-water events due to summer storms thwarted these methods and hoop nets and seine
nets were quickly put to use. These methods proved highly successful for pinks, but staff was forced to adapt once again for coho and steelhead. Tangle nets and angling is currently being used to capture fish out of the lower river with good success.
All 2015 in-river work is done with hand labour and does not require heavy machinery access this season. Vehicle access in close proximity to the river bank near the capture sites may be necessary, given that all trap materials and captured salmon must be moved by hand from and to transport vehicles. Captured salmon will be moved by field crews to the transport tanks daily depending on capture success in the river trap.