The Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ “excuse me” windows plan to save Thompson and Chilcotin steelhead )which really wasn’t any sort of plan at all) limped into second-to-last place when the Albion steelhead monitoring on the lower Fraser River concluded on Nov. 20.
Recent steelhead escapement estimates place the Thompson at 197 fish and the Chilcotin at 92, second-worst ever for both systems, surpassed only by last year’s dismal returns.
It should also be noted that other fall-run Interior Fraser steelhead streams, like the Nahatlach, Bridge and Stein, remain unmonitored and should probably be considered as extirpated.
In answer to governments’ underwhelming plans to save these steelhead, fisheries conservationists have recently proposed that the Trans Canada Highway bridge immediately west of Spence’s Bridge be renamed the Steelhead Memorial Bridge.
It’s a proposal with some merit, but given it would be a daily reminder of government’s abject failure to protect species at risk, it’s probably a bridge too far.