Letters: Open debate needed for dam closure

Letter writer is concerned over closure of dam which supports salmon stock

I am writing to express my concern with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) decision to decommission the Bill James dam on the north arm of DeMamiel Creek.

As an inhabitant of this watershed, and a steward of the portion of DeMamiel Creek that passes through our neighborhood, I am intrinsically connected to the abundant coho return that occurs each fall.  The inter connectedness of numerous species dependent on this fish stock is immediately apparent from a stroll along DeMamiel’s edges, especially in early November.  This fragile ecosystem on the major tributary of the Sooke River has been impacted by recent logging, development, off-road-vehicle traffic and human activity and yet it continues to foster a resilient salmonid stock.  A key component to this success is the ability to control the release of water from two upstream reservoirs in the dry summer months to ensure the survival of fish species in this ecosystem.

As an educator, I have been involved with DFO’s ‘Salmonids In The Classroom’ incubation program for the last eight years.  Each year students at many Sooke schools have the incredible opportunity to raise coho eggs from Jack Brooks Hatchery to fry, before releasing them into DeMamiel Creek.  At approximately 100 fish per classroom, the impact of this activity, not only on the coho population, but also on the education of our local children, is significant.   How can DFO support this incredible program from one perspective and decide to decommission the dam that ensures the survival of these fish through our increasingly long dry season?  With climate change, this decision has the potential to cause a significant setback to the ability of these fish species to survive in DeMamiel Creek.

I have been involved in an ongoing effort by several residents to monitor, measure and document discharge rates from DeMamiel Creek for the past four years.  Originally this activity grew out of a concern for the availability of water for domestic use during the dry months.  Currently, this data is useful in the calculation of the potential impact that a hypothetical colossal failure of this dam would have on the DeMamiel Creek watershed, including the impact on properties.  This data suggests the amount of water being reserved behind the dam, approximately eight kilometers away from the nearest dwelling or water license, will have very little impact on properties adjacent to its course.  If DFO intends to decommission this dam to reduce liability in wake of a previous dam collapse near Oliver B.C., should clear scientific evidence not be provided by DFO to demonstrate this potential liability?

Salmon species continue to be a major economic, social and natural resource to the Sooke region.  We are only beginning to digest the wealth of scientific evidence identifying the inter connectedness of natural systems and their importance on human health.  Let’s not endanger one of our most precious resources under the guise of liability and lack of funding.  If liability is truly more important, it would be prudent to clearly show this research to local residents so an open debate can take place regarding this resilient ecosystem.

Mike Bobbit

Sooke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke’s Whiffin Spit in a blaze of glory. (Pete Knight photo)
Whiffin Spit in a blaze of glory. Transition Sooke is calling on the municipality to slow its growth. The group came up with a growth scenario proposal for the Official Community Plan (OCP) which looks different to than the survey scenarios that emerged from the district. (Pete Knight photo)
Transition Sooke calls for slower growth rate

Group submits alternate growth scenario for Official Community Plan review

The Farm Fresh website makes it easy to connect with local farmers. (Courtesy Farm Fresh)
Island Farm Fresh Guide lets residents explore local product

Guide appears in this week’s edition of Black Press Media newspapers from Duncan to Victoria

Colwood mayor Rob Martin celebrates the opening of Meadow Park Green playground in Royal Bay earlier this year.	This year’s taxes reflect an increase in maintenance costs for parks, trails, and sewers. (Photo contributed/Jennifer Callioux)
Colwood pitches $100 property tax hike

Parks, trails, and sewer maintenance on the rise

Grandmothers to Grandmothers is a campaign that connects Canadian grandmothers with grandmothers in Africa who are caring for children orphaned by AIDS. Here, they are in Kakuto, Uganda in 2018. (Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar photo)
Greater Victoria and African grandmothers celebrate solidarity with virtual concert

Grandmothers to Grandmothers supports women in Africa caring for children orphaned by AIDS

Naloxone is used to treat opioid overdoses. (Black Press Media files)
Island Health issues overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The advisory directs bystanders to an overdose to call 911 and administer naloxone

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Most Read