How disappointing it was to read that our mayor is still advocating for the removal of gravel in the Fraser River. Disappointing because it is now an established fact that the benefits of gravel removal have been greatly exaggerated and the detrimental effects greatly under-reported. This so called “flood protection” is really just an attempt to acquire more gravel for the aggregate industry.
I would have thought that a man with his educational background would be aware that current information has established that the shallows that are created when the river is left to it’s own devices, are very beneficial to not only salmon but also the many other species that inhabit this vital aquatic ecosystem.
A few years ago, before the gravel mining started, I remember standing at the Hamilton Bar just west of town one September, and marveling at the number of salmon that were spawning in the shallow water just a few feet offshore. I went back the following spring and with waders on, checked for salmon fry. The shallows were alive with baby salmon. The following year the mining started and I have gone back each year since and not seen one salmon in the now deep flowing channels.
Maybe it’s time to stop thinking of the Fraser as a large drainage ditch and start seeing it for what it really is:
A marvelous ecosystem that is badly damaged but still hanging on.