Readers write about the Thompson steelhead and the right to peaceful protest

Dear Editor,

One must not forget that steelhead are a species that is regulated by the province of B.C. (“Thompson steelhead trapped at bottom of Bonaparte River fishway”, The Journal, April 11; The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) established the Bonaparte fishway to allow the passage of salmon upstream above the barrier. This also allowed passage for other species as well as steelhead. The province used to enhance steelhead for the Deadman and Bonaparte Rivers at Loon Creek Hatchery (provincial) until the fishway was installed and the province thought both these systems had a healthy number of returning adults to sustain the population of both these tributaries.

The main population of Thompson steelhead are in the Coldwater River and Spius Creek, tributaries of the Nicola River. The steelhead from these two systems were enhanced at Spius Creek Hatchery (DFO). Enhancement stopped in the mid-1990s. The reason given was that the province could not properly evaluate the returning adults as they return during the spring freshet. I know this as I was the manager at both these facilities when these stocks were being enhanced.

As for debris in the fishway, the province should have been aware this would happen with all the damage being caused by the flooding last year in the Bonaparte drainage. Yes, the DFO should have acted as well, protecting their salmon runs.

Dennis Graf

Loon Lake, B.C.

Dear Editor,

Tom Fletcher didn’t let facts interfere with his March 28 rant on climate action (“The hijacking of our education system gathers speed”, Peaceful protest is a democratic right to inform governments of citizens’ concerns. Teachers prepare our children to participate in society, including expressing frustration with our government’s failure to address climate change.

The oil and gas industry doesn’t need to protest; it spends millions lobbying to gain billions in tax breaks through meetings behind closed doors.

There are realistic alternatives to oil and gas. With political will we can eliminate our use of oil and gas within a decade, just as the Americans put a man on the moon within a decade of JFK’s challenge.

Recently at Selkirk College, Mr. Robert Gray, a forestry consultant, told students that without transformative action on climate change, in 20 years there won’t be a forest industry in B.C. One hundred and forty thousand jobs are at risk.

Robert M. MacRae

Instructor, Integrated Environmental Planning Technology

School of Environment and Geomatics

Selkirk College, West Kootenay & Boundary Region

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