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Nechako (click on image to see larger version)
Skin's Lake Spillway (click on image to see larger version)
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Habitat Complexes, such as the one pictured here, attempt to mimic natural log jams in the river that are used as habitat by juvenile salmon and trout. Juvenile salmonids use the spaces between logs as refuge from predators such as birds and other fish.
Rotary Screw Traps are installed each year in the Nechako River during the spring to monitor the outmigraton of juvenile chinook from the Nechako River. These traps provide information about the relative size and abundance of juvenile chinook rearing in the Nechako River.
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The Nechako Fisheries Conservation Program has tested several designs of habitat complexes in the Nechako River. These structures have been installed in areas similar to locations where natural debris structures are found.
Habitat complexes are also used by other animals in the Nechako River. This structure has been utilized by a beaver as a solid anchor point for the construction of a lodge.
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A Cold Water Release Facility that was proposed for the Kenney Dam would have altered temperatures in the Nechako River during summer months in order to maintain good conditions for migrating sockeye salmon. This invertebrate trough test was conducted as part of efforts to understand the potential implications of cooler water temperatures on invertebrates which are used as food by juvenile chinook salmon.
The Vanderhoof Migratory Bird Sanctuary on the Nechako River is a major resting area for birds as they migrate between their summer and winter ranges. The sanctuary is located adjacent to the town of Vanderhoof approximately 150 kilometers downstream of the Kenney Dam.
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A typical juvenile chinook after rearing in the Nechako River for approximately six months. This particular chinook has just been branded in order to identify it’s capture location.
Electroshockers are commonly used in fisheries research to capture juvenile salmonids for length and weight measurements. Electrofishing utilizes small electrical currents to temporarily stun fish so that they can be captured for enumeration and measurement. Electrofishing is used in the Nechako River to capture juvenile salmon in a variety of habitats.
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Here a sampling crew is electrofishing among habitat complexes that were installed for newly emergent chinook juveniles. The electrical current produced helps to draw fish out of the cover created by small pine trees so they can be easily captured.
Sockeye salmon are of major concern to the NFCP. Sockeye such as these ones migrate hundreds of miles from the Pacific Ocean up major river systems throughout B.C. to spawn in smaller tributaries. In the Nechako River discharges from the Skins Lake Spillway are increased in the summer months and closely monitored in order to maintain cool river temperatures for migrating sockeye salmon.
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Rotary Screw Traps are utilized in the Nechako River to capture juvenile chinook salmon during their migration downstream in May and June to rear in the Fraser River mainstem. These Rotary Screw Traps are positioned approximately 70 kilometers downstream of the major spawning areas at Bert Irvine’s and help to provide an indication of the number of juvenile chinook leaving the Nechako watershed.
Studies conducted in the Nechako River have covered many aspects of aquatic life in the river. Here a sampling device used to capture invertebrates drifting in the river is emptied of it’s catch prior to analysis.
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Cheslatta Falls, shown here during early winter, is the upstream limit of salmon migration in the mainstem Nechako River.
Each year the Nechako Fisheries Conservation Program funds several projects to monitor the ongoing health and stability of the chinook population in the Nechako River. Inclined Plane Traps are installed in the early spring to capture juvenile chinook as they emerge from the gravel in the upper river spawning areas and disperse downstream throughout the river. The Inclined Plane Traps help biologists to index the quality of the incubation environment and success of incubation for eggs laid in the gravel the previous fall.