Home / Member News / Update: Yucwmenlúcwu (Caretakers of the Land)
Columbia Freshwater Toxicology
The Columbia Freshwater Toxicology project is a First Nation Health Authority initiative that is being delivered as a partnership between the Secwépemc, Ktunaxa, and Syilx Nations. This project is focused on collecting freshwater mussels to determine toxicity levels in over 21 water bodies and locations in the West and East Kootenay of the Columbia Basin.
Mussels are filter-feeders that tend to accumulate trace levels of toxins if present within the water system. For this project, mussels are being used as indicators of water quality. Seven shoreline locations in Splatsin Traditional Territory were recently surveyed in collaboration with Shuswap IB Kenpesq’t Territorial Stewardship. Mussel samples collected at each location will be analyzed in a laboratory to determine which trace elements are present as well the concentration of toxins if present in each of the water bodies.
Salmon River Watershed Initiative
With an aim to secure a healthy Salmon River watershed, this initiative is focused on understanding current conditions and priority concerns related to the health of the Salmon River watershed. Mapping and inventory of sensitive habitats along 80 km of the Salmon River are expected to increase our understanding of aquatic habitats and support greater indigenous capacity and participation in future habitat restoration, enhancement, and protection decisions and activities.
Recommendations for ecological and culturally relevant water flow needs to support salmonid species in the Salmon River watershed is another outcome anticipated for this initiative. The Real Estate Foundation of BC has provided funding, and Yucwmenlúcwu is partnering with Splatsin Title & Rights, the Secwépemc Fisheries Commission (SFC), Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), provincial agencies, and other watershed stakeholders to deliver this program over the next three years. We are hopeful that Splatsin community members may have interest and knowledge to share that may help secure the future of the Salmon River watershed. A first knowledge-sharing event will happen in the new year and all Splatsin community members will be welcome to attend.
Salmon River Sensitive Habitat Inventory Mapping
Inventory and mapping of sensitive instream habitats (SHIM) is a key piece of the Salmon River Watershed Initiative. The habitat inventory will be utilized to develop an aquatic habitat index (AHI) to identify priority habitats and areas of greatest concern along the Salmon River. This work is expected to inform decision making for future possible restoration and protection activities and projects in the Salmon River watershed.
In September, Yucwmenlúcwu field technicians were trained to perform the inventory work alongside fish biologists from Ecoscape Environmental Consultants. It is anticipated that the results of this project will be available to share with Splatsin community members in the new year. Funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Healthy Watersheds Initiative and the BC Salmon Restoration Fund Initiative has allowed this important work to be completed.
Chinook & Coho Salmon Enumeration Study
Counting the number of salmon returning to spawn in Splatsin Traditional Territory is the focus of the Chinook & Coho Salmon enumeration study. Once again, this autumn Yucwmenlúcwu technicians are working alongside Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) fisheries technicians to better understand the numbers of Chinook that are successfully returning to spawn in the middle Shuswap as well as the number of Coho that are making their way back into the Eagle River system. Keep an eye out for you may see crews working the middle Shuswap around Kingfisher during October and on the Eagle River upstream of Perry River in November.
Learn more about one of Splatsin’s companies, Yucwmenlúcwu (Caretakers of the Land).