Plans underway for salmon cannon to aid return in Fraser River at B.C. landslide: DFO - InfoNews

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Plans underway for salmon cannon to aid return in Fraser River at B.C. landslide: DFO

Stuart LePage, of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, sprints to place a salmon in a vessel to be lifted by a helicopter and transported up the Fraser River past a massive rock slide near Big Bar, west of Clinton, B.C., on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans say plans are well underway for a pneumatic fish pump, sometimes dubbed a salmon cannon, to help fish pass by a landslide discovered last year in a remote stretch of British Columbia's Fraser River.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
April 27, 2020 - 7:00 PM

VANCOUVER - Officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans say plans are underway for a pneumatic fish pump, also known as the salmon cannon, to help fish migrate past a landslide on British Columbia's Fraser River.

Gwil Roberts, director of the landslide response team, says a fish ladder is under construction that will direct salmon to a holding pool where they'll be pumped through a series of tubes suspended above the river.

Roberts says the pump is more viable in high water levels than a fishway that was completed by using boulders to create areas where the salmon can rest as they swim upstream on their own.

Snowpack is melting fast and the BC River Forecast Centre says water volume in the Fraser River is already hitting record levels.

Roberts says migrating salmon won't be able to use the fishway until volume drops, which may not happen until August.

Until then, Roberts says the salmon cannon will aid migration for fish that are expected to begin arriving in late May.

If the pump can't be used, Roberts says fish will be transported upstream by truck as tens of thousands were last year, in combination with helicopters.

He says the COVID-19 pandemic has not significantly delayed work at the site and a newly completed road has improved access to the slide, which is surrounded by steep terrain and hazards.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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