Koeye River Weir Update

After a two week stint out at the Koeye River, our group is back in Bella Bella for a few days of R & R. Its been a productive month and we are just about ready to get the weir in the water and start fishing. The past few weeks we were privileged to host students from a UVic course being co-taught by Qqs’ own Jess Housty and UVic professor Chris Darimont. The course titled “Consilience” was focused on how scientists and policymakers can better integrate traditional knowledge and community based approaches to conservation into our thinking. This past week we were also joined by students from Dr. Anne Salomon’s field course on resilience in linked social-ecological systems. Both courses were full of bright and enthusiastic students and it was a real pleasure to share a glimpse into our work at Koeye with them.

Heading back out to Koeye tomorrow, looking forward to having two groups of students out for field trips from the Bella Bella Community School. By the time we are back in town on June 7th for Oceans Day, we hope to have the weir in the water catching sockeye. Lots more photos to come.

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Anne’s class and our crew at the weir site. 

-Will

Getting underway at the Koeye

After spending last week prepping materials and falling alder for the weir build, our crew spent this week hauling materials up the Koeye River to the weir site. The site is situated about two kilometers up river just below the top of high tide and with the river low from the spell of dry weather, we needed a high tide over about 14 feet to make it up with the punt. With a series of good high tides last week at night, we decided to take advantage and try to get everything up to the weir site. After three nights of midnight boat journeys upriver we were exhausted but happy to have everything in place for the weir build.

Grant Callegari and his crew from the Hakai Beach Institute made it over on Wednesday, and with the extra manpower we managed to take two full loads of with the last bit of lumber up. Thursday we spent upriver getting things organized and started to refine the process of building panels for the weir.

This weekend, Ilja Herb an incredibly talented photographer and filmmaker arrived in Bella Bella  and will be joining us at Koeye this week and during subsequent trips up to document the project for a short documentary film.

A few photos from this week:

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Scott with the first of many weir panels.

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Grant explaining the plan to our crew

 

Koeye River Fish Weir

A recurring theme on the website over the coming months will be our Koeye River fish weir project. For thousands of years First Nations people on the Northwest Coast built weirs  (basically picket fences) and fish traps on salmon rivers as a means of harvesting returning fish. However, they have not been used in Bella Bella for close to 100 years. Now in collaboration with the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management department we are resurrecting the practice of weir building in the Koeye River, allowing us to monitor annual returns of sockeye salmon to the watershed. It is an extremely ambitious project which will almost certainly provide plenty of challenges as well as rewards. Fortunately we are also working closely with Grant Callegari and others from the Hakai Beach institute to build the structure. Grant is a bit of a renaissance man, talented as a carpenter, woodsman, field engineer and apparently as an artist. He put together these lovely sketches of the weir design in preparation for the coming field season.

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Hello From the Central Coast

Welcome to my website. Over the next month or so I will continue to develop and hone the content on the site. Through weekly updates I hope to provide a small view into our work on the Central Coast, as well as some of the characters and places that define this place. Stay tuned for updates and thanks for visiting.

-Will