It is unfortunate that the District of Kent, Scowlitz First Nation and the Rod & Gun Club are opposed to establishing a Wildlife Management Area on the Harrison-Chehalis Flats. The Harrison River and its nearby tributaries spawn the largest concentration of Spring (AKA Chinook) salmon in Canada and the largest run of Chum in British Columbia. It also hosts Pink, Coho, Sockeye and Steelhead.
As we all are aware it is a yearly stopover for the world’s largest concentration of bald eagles that feed on the wild salmon carcasses. The David Hancock Foundation reported over 1,600 this past Saturday. Because of the eagles, the Chehalis river estuary is designated as an International Important Bird Area.
Chehalis Flats was designated a Salmon Stronghold, a North American Partnership, in February 2010. “Salmon Stronghold” is a science-based validation and provides verification of the area’s importance. It is rumoured that the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is interested in including the area on its list of worldwide properties with cultural and natural heritage of outstanding universal value.
The Kent Council complains about wet feet in spring but ‘gravel guru’ Dr. Michael Church, says dredging lessens the Fraser’s flood level by about an inch! It is my understanding that a WMA designation would not affect ditch cleaning and dyke maintenance practices in any case.
Surely no organization can argue with the intent of the MFLNRO WMA proposal to encourage fish and wildlife conservation. Responsible management and shared environmental stewardship can surely accommodate compatible integrated resource practices.
The WMA proposal is fully supported by the 5,000 member strong BC Nature Federation and its affiliated clubs. Many local clubs and organization that I belong to say it’s about time. Let’s hope UNESCO puts Chehalis Flats right up there with Haida Gwaii (SGang Gwaay) and Yosemite as a World Heritage Site!
Harrison Hot Springs