Public meeting on speckled dace recovery

The speckled dace is a small minnow with an important role in the Kettle River.

Speckled dace

The speckled dace is a small minnow with an important role in the Kettle River. The species is relatively abundant here, but it is considered endangered because it is the only place in Canada where it occurs and it is isolated from American populations.

Now residents of the Boundary and Okanagan Region will have a chance to help the speckled dace and the overall health of the Kettle River.

As part of the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) has received funding from the Government of Canada’s National Conservation Plan and the Okanagan Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada to restore speckled dace habitat near Beaverdell, the Christian Valley, and the upper Granby River.

The public, anglers, landowners and others are invited to join the RDKB and project partners for a public meeting on Monday, Feb. 16 from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at the Westbridge Community Hall. Golder Associates and Trout Unlimited Canada will share information on the importance of speckled dace and options for restoring their habitat, and the public will be able to sign up to help or provide ideas on stream stewardship in the Kettle River Watershed.

This project supports the efforts of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia in developing a recovery strategy for the speckled dace. Some of the main threats are low river flows and siltation from road building, forestry and livestock access. According to Lesley Peterson, a biologist with Trout Unlimited Canada, “These issues are also detrimental to rainbow trout which not only require cold, clean water but also healthy and functioning riparian areas.”

The team is currently identifying project sites and preparing information on sediment reduction and riparian habitat restoration options. Fieldwork and restoration activities are scheduled to start in late March, pending weather and site conditions.

The meeting was made possible by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, the Government of Canada’s National Conservation Plan, the Okanagan Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada and Golder Associates. Refreshments will be provided. Contact Graham Watt (plan@kettleriver.ca; 250-442-4111) for more information, or visit http://kettleriver.ca.