Interior Fraser coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) have been recommended for endangered classification under the Species at Risk Act. In the North Thompson River watershed there are numerous non-natural barriers to fish passages which are limiting access to valuable habitat for regionally, provincially, and federally significant fish populations. In particular, the productivity of endangered Thompson coho stocks, which tend to spawn and rear in headwater reaches, is being compromised by many of these barriers. In response to this endangered recommendation, and the threat to coho from habitat disruption and degradation, the Secwepemc Fisheries Commission undertook an 'Assessment of Non-Natural Coho Barriers in the North Thompson Watershed'. Tolko Industries Ltd., Louis Creek Division, agreed to fund the project through the Forest Investment Account. The Secwepemc or Shuswap Peoples have a vested interest in seeing the endangered Thompson coho populations reach historical abundance levels. First Nations have the highest priority for harvest on these salmon, and have instituted a 'no harvest' policy on Thompson coho during the recovery period. Through identification of barriers to both adult and juvenile salmon migration, priority barriers can be removed resulting in improved opportunities and access to quality habitat. The general location of the project is the North Thompson River watershed within the Southern Interior Forest Region. Five tributaries of the North Thompson River were assessed, in addition, the Upper North Thompson River above the confluence with the Albreda River was considered a separate tributary in the assessment. The assessment was completed utilizing adapted Standards from the Fish Passage - Culvert Inspection Procedures (FPCI) (WRP Tech. Circ. #11). Fish presence sampling was not completed as part of this assessment. All other fields within the FPCI were completed, though the focus on species use was limited to that of coho. The FPCI Summary for the project identified 5 high, 2 moderate and 1 low priority culverts (Appendix 2). In addition, there were two sites not assessed in 2003 (Appendix 3) in the Albreda River and Upper North Thompson River watersheds, that both are a high priority for assessment in the spring of 2004. Based on the field investigations within the six watersheds the following activities in order of priority are recommended for 2004: 1. Deactivation/Rehabilitation prescription development for Fennell Creek Site #5 & #6. 2. Removal of collapsed box culverts and stream rehabilitation on Fennell Creek Site #5 & #6. 3. Fish Passage Assessment of possible barrier at 12 km mark of Fennell Creek. 4. FPCI field assessment of Albreda River Site #7 and Upper North Thompson River Site #7A. 5. Initiation of fish presence and distribution sampling on creeks identified as a barrier to fish passage. 6. FPCI field assessment of Lion Creek watershed.
Clough, Shawn, Secwepemc Fisheries Commission. 2004. Assessment of non-natural Coho barriers in the North Thompson Watershed. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2004MR124