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Letter: Gravel removal draws questions

The irony is a sign posted near the area telling people to keep vehicles off the gravel beds as they are spawning habitat, reader says

I have just noticed heavy equipment quarrying gravel from the lower Vedder river. It seems very strange that this is being permitted when an endangered run of sockeye into the Cultus Lake system is transitting the river and the July chinook salmon are incubating in the gravel beds. I have also noticed another gravel bar marked out for removal further upstream. Though this is being done no doubt in the guise of flood control, the existing capacity of the dykes in the area is far in excess of the maximum flows of the river.

Gravel was quarried in an area further upstream a couple of years ago and they left a crater the size of a football field in area cut well below the normal river level. While wading into this area to fish I almost drowned when I slipped down the submerged steep edge of the gravel cut area into much deeper water.

I’ve talked with DFO about this and the gentleman I talked with was also quite surprised that this quarrying was being permitted and that permits had even been issued.

Some level of government is no doubt paying for the unnecessary excavations and the contractor is probably selling the gravel. This all seems pretty foolish when DFO is on one hand paying to enhance the river’s fish populations with the hatchery and on the other hand permitting the destruction of the gravel spawning beds for wild fish stocks.

The irony of the whole situation is a sign that is posted near the current quarrying area telling people to keep vehicles off the gravel beds as they are spawning habitat.


Stephen Clarke