March 21, 2013
What is happening at the Fish Passage:
The current fish passage at the Goodyear (now Veyance Technologies) dam has been recognized for quite some time as being inadequate for the role of transferring larger fish upstream to spawn. Of particular concern are the Salmonoids population, some of which have been declared as ‘Species at Risk’.
The current dam has a slope of 20%, which is too steep, and has only a width of 1.2 m, which is too narrow. It is generally estimated that between 1 – 10 % of the larger migrating fish get past. This effectively prevents fish from reaching some 25 km of upstream spawning & nursery habitat.
In 2010, CLOCA formally proposed that Valleys 2000 spearhead the fundraising for a new fish passage to address these concerns.
Thus began the saga of the Bowmanville Valleys Fish Passage Improvement Project.
Along with some 30 community leaders who volunteered to work on our fundraising committee, sufficient funds were raised to initiate the build process. Including in-kind donations of materials & labour, about $500,000 has been raised so far. Many community businesses & private donors have contributed – I couldn’t begin to list them all now but the finished project is to include a donor recognition board. (This is an on-going fund-raiser – the more money we have the better the finished project will be as relates to donor board, educational components, etc. All donations are gratefully accepted.)
Designs were studied & consultants were consulted & a design was declared the most cost-effective & functional for our needs. The new fish passage is to include a 36 meter channel, including 4 riffle-pools, which have a maximum grade of 4% and average top width of 5.5 meters. This natural design channel will include a jumping component to keep invasive fish species (Carp, Goby, Sea Lamprey, etc.) from getting upstream to compete with the salmonoids for spawning grounds. A viewing platform in the form of an overhead bridge will provide an exciting view of the fish from above.
An engineering company was selected, soil testing was done, engineering drawings were completed, and construction was about to begin last year. One of the critical steps to be done before construction was to begin was to shut off the old fish passage – it’s being replaced. The Bowmanville Creek Anglers Association was asked to solve the problem by lifting the fish manually past the dam. With the fantastic help of community volunteers, they lifted some 5,540 fish last year (this year’s count is over 8,000 so far).
Unfortunately, technical glitches occurred which prevented the fish passage from being built last year and it was postponed to 2013.
Once again this year we had to close off the soon-to-be-replaced fish jump prior to construction & the construction began. Once again the Bowmanville Creek Anglers association agreed to lift the fish & once again they are doing a super job.
Shortly after construction began this year it was halted. The reasons for this are still not 100% clear, but the result is that a new contractor has been hired & is to resume construction in the very near future, to be completed by the middle of November 2013. There is no fear of the spring fish run being affected – CLOCA & the Federal Department of Fisheries & Oceans are all over that. There is no intention of attempting to lift fish in the spring – out of the question.
As far as the garbage issue goes, we couldn’t agree more that it is shameful. Valleys 2000 has been lobbying folks to help clean up the creek valleys & to report people who litter. As far as responsibility goes, it is all of ours – yours & mine. Town has provided us with large garbage containers which are emptied regularly. The problem is getting the garbage into the containers. It is acknowledged that the vast majority of folks who discard their garbage carelessly are out-of-town fishermen. We can only encourage everyone to report these polluters to the by-law folks & contact your local reps. to tell them how you feel. There are laws against littering – nobody would get away with discarding that crap on the streets nowadays- but unless the laws are enforced they will not be followed, especially by people who don’t have to live with the mess.
Thanks again for caring enough to contact us. Members of Valleys 2000 are available at any time to discuss any concerns regarding the valleys – we appreciate people caring!
PS We also encourage volunteers to help with our chores – volunteer contacts are on our web site.