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Salish Sea Sentinel | May 18, 2024

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Record pinks on Indian River

Record pinks on Indian River

Record numbers of pink salmon are returning to the Indian River this year.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation fisheries crews observed over two million pinks this week in mid-August. Low flows and high temperatures were a concern like in other streams around the Salish Sea. But the 13 degree Celsius temperature was lower than in other systems.

Tsleil-Waututh formed a partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 2012 in an attempt to restore fish habitat and rebuild salmon populations. The restoration project was made possible this year by funding through DFO, Pacific Salmon Foundation, BC Hydro, Port Metro Vancouver and Fortis BC.

 A sacred area

boundariy_180x300The Indian River watershed is a sacred area to Tsleil-Waututh. It is located at the northern tip of Indian Arm, a fjord system that extends from Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver. The river flows into the salt waters of Indian Arm, creating one of the few remaining intact estuaries in the inlet and providing habitat to a range of species.

Members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation have utilized the Indian River watershed, since time out of mind and continue to use it today. As part of a yearly round of activity the watershed is harvested for renewable resources like salmon, deer, cedar, berries and medicinal plants.

Today, it is among the most heavily impacted areas in BC. Historic logging practices, hydro transmission line construction and industrial activities in Burrard Inlet have had major adverse effects on the environment. Based on the nature and extent of these impacts, the Indian River has been identified by the BC government as one of the top ten priority watersheds for restoration.

The watershed is approximately 193 square kilometers and contains an estimated 750 kms of stream channels, many fish bearing. The Indian River flows 36 km from its headwaters to its outfall at the head of Indian Arm.