LETTER: Fish passage in the Stawamus River | Squamish Chief

LETTER: Fish passage in the Stawamus River

I was happy to see The Chief wrote an article concerning fish passage in the Stawamus River [“Squamish volunteers opening up man-made dams stopping pink salmon,” published Aug. 29.]

Every year, the rock walls pop up in some of the smaller creeks around Squamish during hot weather spells. I wanted to let readers know that it is important for fish that passage be maintained throughout the year, every year, not just in pink salmon years.

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There are small resident trout, juvenile salmonids, and other fish species that need to move up the streams throughout the year. 

In response to the article The Chief published about volunteers removing man-made damns in the big and little Stawamus rivers, some readers may be thinking, “I’ve seen videos of salmon jumping up waterfalls in huge rivers what’s wrong with a little rock wall?”

It is true that salmon and trout have incredible abilities to navigate fast-flowing and steep rivers.

However, the ability of salmon and trout to jump over obstacles is dependent on a number of factors including the age, size, and species of a particular fish (some fish can jump higher than others), the depth of the pool below a structure, and the height of the structure itself. 

The best idea for those seeking to cool down on hot summer days would be to select a natural pool in the stream of choice. If you really must build a wall to create a little extra depth, it would be best to leave at least half the channel flowing naturally and take the time to dismantle your structure before you leave.

Stephanie Lingard

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