Salmon in the Canyon FraserFEST

Bring family, friends and neighbours for an evening celebrating the Fraser River down by the river!

Saturday August 5, 2017 from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Located at the Cayoosh Creek Campground

Activities will include: Mini-golf, Salmon obstacle course, large 3D fish community art project, riverside field walk, fish ID and water bug discovery, and lots of hands-on interactive booths with a focus on wildlife, habitat, and sustainable living.

Bike Rodeo: Decorate your bike on site and then join the bike rodeo starting at 4:30 pm. Don’t forget to bring your helmet! For kids and adults.

Live music featuring Sekw’el’was drummers, local artists, community choir, and singer/songwriter Rachelle van Zanten http://www.rachellevanzanten.com

Food booths will be selling a diverse range of food for your enjoyment – with much of the produce coming from local farmers.

The Mystery of the Gun Creek Crop Circles

Okay, well they aren’t exactly crop circles but if you have been out in the Goldbridge area this summer you might have found yourself thinking ‘What the heck has been happening out around the Gun Creek Fan area of Carpenter Reservoir?’ It looks like the remnant site of a giant sand castle building party or some alien craft landing sites. Well to answer your justifiable curiosity, what you are witnessing are in fact experimental riparian enhancement trials. What the heck are those you will probably ask? Well the massive landscaping work is the result of efforts by Splitrock Environmental and X’wisten band’s excavator and heavy machinery operator to implement large scale experimental plots. The plots are intended to encourage natural re-vegetation down into the plant unfriendly drawdown zone of Carpenter Reservoir.
The trials were designed to create micro topography (mounds and depressions) on sites that are otherwise completely flat and compact due to years of repeated flooding. The effects of the newly created pitted and mounded areas include;
• creating varied roughened and loosened soil conditions that provide microsites with cooler facing slopes and moisture collecting depressions.
• Dramatically increasing overall surface area heightening infiltration of precipitation and slowing runoff.
• The pits will act like pockets and capture both wind and water born seeds trapping them in greater numbers than flat ground.
• The depressions will funnel moisture and diversify moisture retention,
• The north facing slopes protect from drying effects of the sun and wind.
Splitrock crews planted our nursery grown native sedges and grasses into sections of the treatment areas to determine if planting speeds up re-vegetation. In addition, seeds of the vegetation superstar lakeshore sedge (Carex lenticularis) (applause!) (a native species able to survive the extremes of annual drought and flooding inherent in a reservoir’s operation) were sown into test plots. A ton of work went in to these trials and a litany of monitoring was and will be carried out. We will be watching closely over the next few years in an attempt to answer the question of whether anything can be done to support natural colonization of vegetation into the Carpenter Reservoir drawdown zone.
If you are up in the area be sure to check out some of the sites, they can not be missed! Please resist the urge to clamber, drive, dig, climb, and comb through the sites as every bit of disturbance can be a setback to re-vegetation in this extremely harsh growing environment. Be sure to let us know if you have any further questions. And as for the alien conspiracy theorists out there sorry to burst your bubble.

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Biologist position at Splitrock Environmental

 

Employment Opportunity

Biologist and Project Manager

Splitrock Environmental Sekw’el’was is an aboriginal owned business that specializes in environmental consulting services, ecological restoration and propagation of native plants.

We are looking for a highly motivated individual who has a passion for the environment, who is a team player and has project management experience.  If you are looking for a change, joining our team and this growing business in a beautiful rural community could be the opportunity you have been waiting for.  For this specific position we are looking for someone who is a R.P.Bio., and/or who has a thorough knowledge of local environmental regulations and their application to a wide variety of projects within industry, government and non-profit settings. This position requires working from Lillooet BC.  Lillooet is located on the Fraser River, on the cusp of the Coast Mountains and the dry interior, thereby having a high biodiversity.

 

Responsibilities:

As a key member of our team you will be responsible for ensuring project staff meet, maintain or exceed client-specific outcomes, while working collaboratively to build the relationships necessary to grow the business. You will be able to successfully oversee environmental monitoring programs, develop habitat and wildlife projects, as well as design and manage a variety of mitigation and restoration projects from initial proposal submission, to implementation.  You will:

 

  • Undertake site investigations and environmental impact assessments
  • Submit proposals for a variety of environmental projects
  • Supervise and mentor junior biologists and technicians
  • Analyze and interpret data, provide science-based recommendations and mitigation requirements, prepare technical reports, and present findings to stakeholders
  • Implement conservation, restoration and adaptive management plans for diverse projects
  • Develop and carry out long-term monitoring programs
  • Liaise with clients from various sectors, ranging from aboriginal, government, industry, and non-profit organizations
  • Work with other professionals from various fields, including engineers, hydrologists, fish and wildlife biologists, aboriginal elders, naturalists and invasive species agrologist.

 

Qualifications:

The successful candidate will possess the following:

 

  • Degree or Master Degree in Environmental Science, Biology, Forestry, Botany, Restoration of Natural Systems or similar related field, with 4-5 years of experience working in an environmental consulting setting or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Demonstrated experience with the practical application of the scientific process from developing a conceptual study plan to address clients’ goals, experimental designs, field work, data analysis and report preparation.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and ability to work effectively in interactive multi-disciplinary team situations.
  • Class 5 Drivers License
  • A strong preference will be given to candidates registered or eligible for registration as an R.P.Bio with the College of Applied Biology.
  • Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrable experience in GIS, statistical analysis, and vegetation and habitat work in a variety of BEC zones.

 

Strong applicant who do not meet the above qualifications but feel they will be a good fit at Splitrock Environmental are invited to apply.

 

A cover letter and resume detailing your experience and qualifications must be submitted to manager@splitrockenvironmental.ca by Wednesday 19 July 2017.

Splitrock Environmental Employment Opportunity

The Release Call of the Western Toad

Unlike many other frog and toad species, most Western Toads (Bufo boreas boreas) do not use a vocal call to advertise for mates.  So, if you heard frogs calling this spring, you were most likely hearing Pacific Tree Frogs (Pseudacris regilla), and not Western Toads.

This interesting fact left us with one question: What is the meaning of these Western Toad calls recorded by our friend Ian Routley at Pavilion Lake?

The answer is actually quite interesting, but before we tell you, we will give you a hint:

Image recorded by Ian Routley at the same time as the sound recordings, May 7th 2017 at Pavilion lake.

If you guessed that these sounds were cries of passion, then you were incorrect.  These sounds are actually what herpetologists refer to as “release calls”.  You see, when frogs mate, the male grabs the female around the waist and snuggles up tight while he fertilizes her eggs.  But sometimes a problem occurs when a male grasps another male instead of a female.  In this case the male who has been mistakenly grabbed begins to protest by uttering a series of chirps that sound not unlike the peeps of a baby chick – the “release call.”  A way of saying: “please let go of me, you have the wrong mate!”  While they are shy to speak for most of the rest of their lives, male Western Toads demonstrate the courtesy of speaking up to let another fellow know when he is wasting his time.

The most important sites for Western Toad breeding in the Lillooet Area are the wetlands of the Fountain Valley, and the Pavilion Lake series.  These sandy bottomed lake host breeding populations of toads which come together in the spring to mate and deposit large colonies of eggs.  Throughout the summer you can look in the sunniest parts of these lakes and maybe you will see large schools of charcoal black Western Toad tadpoles.  In the late summer, drive with care and try not to hit the newly metamorphosed western toadlets as the move out from their natal wetlands, and into the upland forests that they use for foraging and hibernating.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has listed Western Toads as Endangered globally due to massive habitat loss, and population declines at the southern edge of their range in the US.  Though they also occur in western Alberta, and perhaps the southern Yukon, British Columbia is the core of their range, and the most important region for Western Toad conservation globally.

Like most other amphibians species, the greatest threat to the Western Toads are loss of habitat, and pollution.  So if you want to be a friend to the Western toad, the most important thing you can do is to participate in efforts to protect our precious wetlands!

If you are interested to learn more about Western Toads, the BC Frogwatch Program has some very good information.

 

 

 

Searching for the Dinosaurs of the Fraser

Biologists and recreational anglers alike regard the Fraser River White Sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus, as one of the most elusive and sought after fish species throughout Western Canada. White Sturgeons can exceed eight meters in length and 100 years of age, making them one of the largest and oldest species of fish in North America. Sturgeons are listed as Endangered in the Upper Fraser, Columbia and Kootenay Rivers and Threatened in the Lower Fraser River. Sturgeons in the Middle Fraser, including Lillooet populations, remain unlisted.

Biologists working alongside Lheidli T’enneh First Nations in Prince George, British Columbia, have intensively studied White Sturgeons within the Upper Fraser River watershed. To learn about this research and increase our local capacity to study and handle Sturgeons, two Splitrock employees, Corrie Allen and Travis Rankin, traveled to Prince George and spent two days on the Fraser River participating in an experimental field biology tour.

As part of this program, Corrie and Travis had the unique opportunity to observe and practice techniques including: setline and angling approaches to capturing Sturgeons; proper handling techniques; determining sex through surgery; suturing techniques; and, PIT and radio tagging Sturgeons.

In Lillooet, an existing PIT tagging program lead by a local Conservation Officer and assisted by Sturgeon Operators has had success in monitoring Sturgeon captures throughout the Middle Fraser. This program has been ongoing for several years and has contributed to our understanding of Sturgeons in this area.

Here at Splitrock, we are excited to take these techniques and knowledge back to Lillooet for a new Sturgeon project that Splitrock and St’at’imc Eco-Resources will collaboratively implement this summer. The objective of this new initiative is to support and promote the conservation of White Sturgeon populations in the Middle Fraser by engaging aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities to better understand local Sturgeon biology, the current and cumulative impacts on local sturgeons, and to provide a strategic plan for studying and monitoring the Middle Fraser Sturgeon moving forward.

If you are interested in getting involved with this work or would like to learn more, contact Splitrock at: 250-256-0002 or email Corrie at corrie.allen@SplitrockEnvironmental.ca.

 

Corrie showing off the team’s first catch.

Travis waiting a bite.

Sturgeons were placed onto a fish ‘stretcher’ where they were processed and subsequently released. In the above image, a Biologist is carefully performing surgery to determine the sex of the sturgeon. This technique can only be used on larger fish.

The team caught and processed an 8.5 ft fish, weighing in at 232 pounds. Because no PIT tag was found in this fish, this is believed to be the first time it has had contact with humans. Interestingly, because of its size, Biologists predicted this fish could be over 100 years old.

To identify the precise age of a Sturgeon, a small piece of the leading ray on the pectoral fin is removed. In a lab, Biologists can then count the number of rings in the sample to determine age, much like tree rings are used to age trees.

 

 

Permanent Photo Point Monitoring

Photo point monitoring is a method of repeat photography used to track changes on the landscape through time.  One of the most well-known series of repeat photographs is the Mountain Legacy Project, which is recreating historical photos dating back to 1861 in the Canadian Rockies.

Here at Splitrock we use this technique to monitor the progress of re-vegetation on our ecological restoration projects.  Below are two images from our Powerhouse site.  The first was taken before restoration work in 2010, and the second one was taken almost exactly two years later after we had begun to remediate the soil, and re-plant the area with native wildflowers, grasses, and shrubs.

Currently, we are working on establishing permanent photo points at all of the wetlands in the Lillooet area.  We hope to return to these photos through the years to monitor the health of our wetlands.  Each image includes the surrounding landscape, because wetlands are dynamic features, which may grow, shrink, or move in response to human alterations on the landscape, ecological succession, geo-morphological processes, and climate change.

 

Andrew James, Fred James, and Yvonne Michell establishing a photo point of a wetland on Duffy Lake Road, from the deactivated Boulder FSR.

We would like to work with landowners and community members to re-monitor the photo points at each of our wetlands, so we are developing protocols, data-sheets, and other resources to help train new users on this exciting and powerful technique.  If you are interested in photo point monitoring, or if you have a project which would benefit from repeat photography, please contact us, we would love to share what we have learned.

 

 

 

Sustainable Living Leadership Program 2017

MESSAGE FROM FIN DONNELLY:

I’d like to tell  you about a special program happening this summer on the Fraser River–only ten community leaders & innovators will be selected for this unique 26 day trip!

On the Sustainable Living Leadership Program (SLLP), you travel 1,400km down BC’s longest river–one of the greatest salmon rivers in the world. Starting in the Fraser‎’s headwaters near Mount Robson you travel by voyageur canoe, then by raft through the Fraser Canyon, and by voyageur canoe again through the Fraser Valley to the Pacific Ocean.

Evenings are spent camping under the stars along the banks of the river, while days are spent learning about salmon, stewardship and sustainability. Engaging with peers & facilitators, you learn from and get inspired by the RSBC’s extensive network of community leaders, as you meet them in their communities. Team building, conflict resolution, communication and critical thinking are also part of this dynamic program.

Each day you’re surrounded by breathtaking scenery as you ‎make your way through ten of BC’s fourteen biogeoclimatic zones. You witness first-hand ancient rainforests, deserts & grasslands, sage brush and floodplain.You discuss what it means to live sustainably; you learn about Watershed CPR (conservation, protection and restoration) and how to lower your ecological footprint.

By the time you reach the Pacific Ocean, you have designed your own personal sustainability project and increased your skill and confidence level to have a greater impact in your community.

If this sounds interesting to you, visit www.rivershed.com/sustainable-living-leadership-program/about-the-sllp for details about the program and how to apply. The application deadline is April 30th.

I hope you apply.  You can connect with Kim North at Splitrock Environmental for more information and help putting together your application.  The Lillooet Naturalist Society will support one or two participants with a cash contribution of $500.00.

Sincerely,

Fin Donnelly

Chair & Founder

Rivershed Society of BC

www.rivershed.com

p.s. Please feel free to forward this note to any other community leaders or innovators you think might benefit from this program.

Wetland Restoration and Enhancement Workshop

Are you interested in wetlands and the creatures that call them home?  Would you like to learn more about the process of restoring wetlands where they have been lost?   Are you hoping to develop your environmental science skill-set and add to your resume?  Do you love frogs and salamanders?

This workshop might be for you.  Please join us for three days of FREE wetland restoration workshops presented by Splitrock Environmental, the BC Wildlife Federation, and E. Wind Consulting.

Participants will learn:

  • How to identify and survey for the four species of frogs and salamanders which live in the Lillooet area
  • How to identify and interpret the classes of wetland found in BC
  • How to design wetland restoration projects for the benefit of breeding amphibians
  • The considerations involved with altering water movement on a site to create wetland habitat
  • Soil preparation and plant selection methods for re-planting wetlands.

Register now, space is limited: https://WetlandDesignLillooet.eventbrite.ca

 

PROGRAM:
April 19, 2017 – Introduction to Amphibian Identification and Survey Techniques
(Elke Wind, E. Wind Consulting, Nanaimo)
9:00 AM Welcome
9:15 – 10:15 Amphibian ecology and species identification
10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-11:30 Amphibian handling and survey techniques
11:30-12:00 Equipment and data management
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch (please bring your own)
12:30-4:00 Field component – overview and practise for species identification and survey techniques
 
April 20, 2017 – Wetland Restoration Introductory Course
9:15 AM Welcome
9:30 – 10:30 Wetland Classes and Plant Associations – Identifying wetland plant association types for identifying wetland targets – Neil Fletcher, Wetlands Manager, BC Wildlife Federation
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-12:30 Amphibian oriented wetland restoration considerations – Elke Wind, Herpetologist, E. Wind Consulting
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch (please bring your own)
1:30-3:00 Basic techniques for restoring wetlands, Neil Fletcher, Wetlands Program Manager
3:00-4:00 Introduction to the Lillooet Wetland Enhancement Sites: Tristan Banwell, Iraleigh Anderson, and Phil Johnston
 
April 21, 2017 – Wetland Restoration Introductory Field Day
9:15 AM Convene at Splitrock
9:30 Drive to Spray Creek Ranch
10:00-12:00 Field survey, mapping and planning @ Spray Creek Ranch
12:00-1:30 Drive back to Lillooet and lunch Break
1:30 Convene at Splitrock
1:45 Drive to Lillooet Secondary School
2:00-4:00 Field survey, mapping and planning @ Lillooet Secondary School