Screenshot from a video posted in early 2021 showing repeated crossings of side channels by trucks on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. (Facebook)

Screenshot from a video posted in early 2021 showing repeated crossings of side channels by trucks on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. (Facebook)

Organizer of convoy that churned through Fraser River fish habitat served warning letter

Truck crossings ‘disrupted 1,000 square metres’ of aquatic habitat on Fraser at Chilliwack, DFO says

Organizers of a truck convoy that churned through fish habitat on the Fraser River near Chilliwack were served with a warning letter by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

No charges will be forthcoming for water crossings through side channels at Gill bar, said fishery officer Bijan Sametz-Asgari, from DFO’s Fraser East conservation and protection office.

“The reason why they are receiving a warning, rather than any charges, is because they are not the only ones doing this activity at Gill, and they had no prior violations,” he said.

Gill bar, the Fraser gravel bar near Gill Road, has a long history of use by different user groups, from campers, to off-roads, fishers, and agate seekers.

Organizers of the truck event were co-operative throughout the investigation, the officer added, and have been actively advocating for protecting fish and fish habitat across North America since the video became a cause of concern a few months ago.

After the video was posted to Facebook showing trucks splashing through the waterways to a catchy soundtrack, it drew criticism from fish advocates, conservationists, and the leader of four-wheeling group.

RELATED: Convoy of trucks churned through fish habitat

As part of the investigation, Sametz-Asgari requested a review of the crossing impacts be conducted by a DFO habitat biologist.

The site at Gill bar was inspected and water crossing activity by the trucks was determined to have “disrupted 1,000 square metres of aquatic habitat,” reported the fishery officer. That was contrary to Section 35 (1) of the Fisheries Act, which states that “no person shall carry on any work, undertaking or activity that results in the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction” of fish or aquatic habitat.

“DFO is committed to working with the Province of B.C., First Nations and City of Chilliwack to come up with a plan to mitigate the impacts of use in that area,” said Sametz-Asgari. “Many jurisdictions overlap in that location so we’re committed to working with all agencies, stakeholders and rights’ users.”

The fishery officer noted that DFO does not have the authority to lock the gates at Gill bar.

“But we do support a temporary gate closure to protect fish habitat until a more comprehensive plan for the area is developed,” Sametz-Asgari said.

Planning for the future of Gill bar, as a park, has been ongoing quietly for a few years at a table that included the Four Wheel Drive Association of BC (4WDABC), the Fraser Valley Illegal Dumping Alliance, as well as City of Chilliwack, provincial Conservation Officer Service (COS), the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and DFO representatives.

RELATED: Signage goes up; signage gets torn down

RELATED: Salmon group calls for moratorium on access to side channels

p> Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

DFOFraser River

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

Just Posted

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

<a href="Facebook users reported seeing a body on the side of the road this morning." target="_blank"></a>Facebook users reported seeing a body on the side of the road this morning. (File photo)
Man killed in fatal hit-and-run collision between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Body reported at 6 a.m., police close North Parallel Road, single highway lane as they investigate

Westbound traffic is slow moving on Highway 1 following a crash that has police blocking one lane. Google Maps screenshot taken at 9:07 a.m.
TRAFFIC: Crash on North Parallel Road causes road closure, single westbound Highway 1 lane blocked

Abbotsford Police investigating, roads closed between McDermott and No. 3 Road

Kassandra Clack of Abbotsford has been named one of 18 finalists in the Jim Beam Virtual National Talent Search, taking place in June.
Fraser Valley country singer Kassandra Clack a finalist in national talent search

18 finalists vie to win Jim Beam Virtual National Talent Search in June

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Twenty-nine staff members at Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd. in Newton have tested positive for the virus, according to an information bulletin from Fraser Health Saturday (May 8). The health authority issued a 10-day closure order, effective May 7. (Image: Google Maps)
29 staff test positive for COVID-19 at Surrey poultry processing plant

Meantime, outbreak over at Surrey Memorial Hospital

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Vancouver Giants earned a 6-2 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets Friday night, May 7, in Kamloops (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants down Kelowna Rockets 6-2

Two short-handed goals for Langley-based team

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read