The Tyee —
It was already a race against time.
Government contractors have been working since early this year to clear a huge Fraser River rockslide north of Lillooet which continues to bar passage to migrating Fraser salmon. The work must also be completed before the spring freshet comes, which means that Fisheries and Oceans Canada had mandated the work to be done by the end of March.
That was then.
When COVID-19 became an issue, the new question became whether a workforce would continue to work at the site at all. If the rock cannot be blasted and cleared adequately, experts fear endangered stocks like early Stuart sockeye, brutally depressed for years, could disappear altogether.
The pandemic has not yet halted efforts, The Tyee has learned. But on March 25, a week before river work was supposed to be wrapped up, FOC confirmed that the natural fish passage will not be restored in time for the 2020 Fraser salmon migration.