The province is urging people in the Skeena and Nass regions to voluntarily reduce their water use by 30% due to prolonged dry conditions along the coast.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations says the area is currently experiencing Level Three drought conditions.
It says its staff will be closely monitoring river and well levels and may upgrade the drought level if the weather continues to have a negative effect on stream flows and water supply.
Officials are warning that low water levels can impede the passage of salmon to spawning grounds, increase susceptibility to disease and cause stranding or death of fish due to low oxygen and high water temperatures.
Source: CFNR Network
My Bukley Lakes Now
The situation for sockeye salmon returns in the Skeena and Nass Rivers aren’t as dire as the Fraser right now.
Northwest Area Director of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Colin Masson says the anticipated escapement is around 1.2 million sockeye.
“But that estimate still floats up and down as our numbers come in every week,” says Masson, who points to the current in season estimate sitting at 1.48 million sockeye tested at the mouth of the Skeena. “Generally speaking, that level provides a limited commercial access.”
Masson says we’re doing slightly better than the preseason estimate of 1.28 million.
The Nass River has seen less escapement than anticipated – Masson expects the numbers to reach targets soon.