Pacific Blasting: Save the Salmon!

In June of 2019, a rockslide just West of Clinton, B.C. trapped tens of thousands of migrating Salmon in the Fraser River (Article). The rockslide was believed to have occurred in October or November of 2018, which drastically impacted the Salmon of the Fraser in the 2019 season. “Just 275,000 Salmon were able to make it upriver in the 2019 season, down from an early-season estimate of nearly five million. Many of those who did clear the slide were unable to spawn, according to government officials.” From those numbers, only 5.5% of the estimated Salmon population made it through, and even less of that percentage was able to spawn. This caused an awakening to our government and the communities who rely on Salmon, that this rockslide needed to be cleared and quick. “The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said time was of the essence in restoring the river, warning that ‘unless sufficient rock debris is removed’ before water levels rose in the spring, early migrating salmon populations could be “significantly affected.” (Article)

Enter – Pacific Blasting

The owner of this project, named Big Bar, was the Federal Government. With so many unknowns, the government was at a loss of how exactly they should tackle this massive problem. Five Contractors were chosen by the government to tender the project, Kiewit, Ledcor, Jim Dent Construction, Pacific Pile and Marine, and Pacific Blasting and Demolition. An initial meeting was conducted in Downtown Vancouver with the five chosen contractors in the room to get feedback on how to tender the project. After the meeting was conducted it was determined that a site visit was critical to ensure a successful plan could be developed.

Overall, the main objective of the project was to remove the debris from the river so that the salmon could travel upriver, to avoid the disastrously low spawning numbers of 2019. There were seven main boulders to be removed from the river channel, the east toe had to be removed, and slope stabilization meshing needed to be installed. 

Throughout the project, there were archaeologists onsite, so that if there was digging in a new area, the archaeologist could inspect the area the day before for any Indigenous artifacts.

The project wrapped up at the beginning of July, with not a day to spare. We are sure the next Salmon to come through the Fraser will be happy to see the major blockade was removed, although there will most likely be more work in the area this coming fall/winter.

Great job to Pacific Blasting and the whole crew who worked on this project. You not only impressed Kiewit with your technical skills and professionalism, you have also positively impacted our environment, the Indigenous Peoples who rely on Salmon as a food source, and truly Helped Build an Enduring Community, Together.