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Oct 02 2011

re-posted with links: Fraser River Riders in Lumby – 2010 – 2011 Ripple Relay – update coming soon

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After cycling from Salmon Arm, through Enderby and down Trinity Valley Road, Michelle and Danniel walked the Lumby Salmon Trail, posed with a large salmon from Randy Rauck’s music festival. Then we heard about Michelle and Danniel’s 2,500 kilometer Ripple Relay.

We had a lovely pot luck meal at Randy’s place with guests from rural Lumby, Cherryville and Nelson.
Danniel explained how they were cycling the entire Fraser River basin – to raise awareness of problems for wild salmon.

Michelle and Danniel shared their postcards in support of Fin Donneley (NDP) who put forward Bill C31 to regulate open net fish farms because fish farms impact wild salmon that come here to spawn.

Michelle related a few stories told to them by First Nations and we heard about a Salmon Arm developer who caused a problem by illegally dumping tons of gravel into wetlands to build a shopping mall beside salmon habitat.

Lou Hammond interviewed the cyclists and each of us related our connection to salmon. Most of us live on a river and have watched the salmon decline over the years.

We looked at a model of the fish ladder that needs to go around Wilsey Dam at Shuswap Falls and reviewed some of the history. In 1929 the dam was built without a fish ladder and Cherryville lost their salmon. Various environmental groups support the project and to move the project ahead. Judy Harris is collecting petition signers to support the fish ladder. All that’s left is the political will since BC Hydro has committed funds for this project.

We spent a lot of time discussing the problems for salmon. Allen related how Bell Pole was closed because it was leaching PCBs into the Bessette River. The main issue for the Bessette is pollution as sewage is overflowing into the river. Lumby needs sewage infrastructure upgrades.

There are parts of the Bessette that need habitat restoration but Cherryville has 16 miles of pristine salmon spawning ground and the people in Cherryville are keen to be part of the salmon Cycle with the addition of a fish ladder.

I sang my song and Gord took pictures. Amy spoke about working for the Columbia Basin Trust (in the Kootenays) on environmental issues.

Allen Haworth kindly brought his wonderful salmon art and mentioned that Lumby is the easternmost community where Fraser River salmon spawn. The Fraser Interior Coho are endangered here which brings me to this last picture that Gord took yesterday. Its the baby salmon fry – hundreds of them in the Bessette where we live.

Only 2 of each hundred fry will return to spawn here but seeing them was like seeing a miracle after hearing about dead salmon on the Shuswap riverbanks yesterday. I am hopeful for the future.  Daniel and Michele are biking out to the falls tomorrow and with a bit of luck they may even see a few salmon.

Bee told the story of Mrs Peters, a native woman in Hope who put her net in the Fraser every year. She canned and dried the salmon, fed her family and sold the rest from the side of the road. With that small income she raised her kids and her grand kids and never took a cent of welfare from the Government. Every year the Department of Fisheries came and cut down her nets. Every year she asked “why do they do that? I am just trying to live here and raise my family.” A sad tale of misguided government policy – let us change that policy – please.

All in all it was great to connect with each other – the food was healthy, the company good and we made commitments to each other and to salmon.

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