Ama Sqit Nsneknukwa7 (Good day Friends and relatives)
Saturday afternoon around 4pm had a number of us out on the Birkenhead River sockeye counting fence cleaning off the leaves and debris as the river levels went up quite fast about 10 cm in a short while. The high water and the wind brought a lot of leaves and branches downstream potentially compromising our counting fence, and our safety.
The fence came out on Saturday evening starting at 7:00PM. I’ve never seen a big river come up so fast: we had to stay out of the water after midnight as large logs and stumps made conditions far too dangerous to stay in the river.
At around 5:30AM Sunday morning, a few of us were contacted by the night crew that the fence was going to “blow-out”, and at around the same time the power went out (but only for a couple minutes). By the time I got to the site the sockeye counting fence the middle section had toppled over caused by large woody debris (LWD) floating downstream. The river had topped our staff gauge that morning (approximately 110cm, we started pulling pickets when the water hit 50cm). The middle portion of the fence structure has been demolished, so we won’t be getting the fence back in.
116,059 was our total count before Saturday night’s blow-out.
We dead-pitched the entire river on Thursday and Friday with only ~500 carcasses found. There were still loads of lively fish in the river so I think we were well ahead of peak die-off. However, heavy rain is forecast again for tonight and we likely won’t be able to get back in the river for several days, so we should be well into period 2 by then.
Hopefully we’ll be able to start recovering fence components, for the most part, by the end of the week.
(O-well, mother nature is large and in charge).
– Submitted by Maxine Joseph-Bruce <*)}}}>< Fisheries Program Manager