The East Toe is a outcropping of rock in the Fraser River at the Big Bar Landslide site, northwest of Kamloops that has to be removed to restore fish passage. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Long-awaited blasting advances efforts to clear Big Bar blockage

Pressure has been on senior governments working with First Nations to remove rock at slide site

The Big Bar Landslide site on the Fraser River saw rock blasting Tuesday to remove a large chunk of the obstruction.

Pressure has been on the federal and provincial governments for months who’ve been working collaboratively with First Nations to get the blockage removed.

“This week, Peter Kiewit & Sons successfully carried out a planned blast at the East Toe,” DFO stated in a Feb. 21 news release. “Kiewit also made solid progress on the construction of an overland road for heavy equipment, and on the installation of a highline to facilitate site access and on rock fall prevention.”

The East Toe blast, which took place on February 18, took out a large portion of bedrock extending into the river at the site of the slide.

“The result is a widened channel and more flow directed toward the east river bank.”

Sto:lo fisherman Ken Malloway, who’s been involved as a member of the First Nations panel at Big Bar thinks it was a “good move” to finally get the blasting done by a “top notch” U.S.-based company.

“We’ve been pushing them to move as much of the debris as they can. Some rocks are as big as a house,” Malloway said. “Now that they took that East Toe out it should help with the fish passage, but there is still lots of work left to be done.”

READ MORE: FN reps want obstruction cleared

The massive slide, which was discovered last June, severely restricted fisheries and impacted communities reliant on fish. That triggered a joint effort in July by governments and First Nations, and an Incident Command Post was established at Kamloops.

DFO said acoustic monitoring downstream from the slide did not detect any fish in the area before the blast and no fish mortality was detected after.

“Drilling on the East Toe will now resume in preparation for a second blast in early March, depending on the weather.”

Malloway who also sits on the Fraser River Panel of the Pacific Salmon Commission, said the consensus this week was that “DFO was doing as much as they possibly can on this” with the limited amount of time in the work window.

The Hell’s Gate slide took 40 or 50 years to get fixed, and another slide on the Bulkley River also took years.

“So we’re moving at lightening speed now compared to those efforts in the past,” Malloway said.

There is also talk about putting in a temporary fish way, to help more fish get past the blockage, which Malloway said he supported.

READ MORE: Work intensifies to free salmon at Big Bar


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

DFOFirst NationsFishlandslide

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Interior Health to host virtual town hall Friday, March 27

The Q&A forum begins at 6 p.m. PDT, link in story

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Most Read