The Salish sucker is one of two endangered species of fish living in Fishtrap Creek in Abbotsford. Mike Pearson photo

The Salish sucker is one of two endangered species of fish living in Fishtrap Creek in Abbotsford. Mike Pearson photo

Endangered fish prompts city to drill a new well

Province tells city it needs to maintain levels in Fishtrap Creek if it wants to use groundwater

Two endangered species of fish are forcing the city to construct a new well to bolster water flows in Fishtrap Creek.

For the last decade the city has operated two groundwater wells on Bevan Avenue to augment its water supply, and it now wants to operate those wells indefinitely during the summer months.

But newly completed hydrogeological modelling that factors in climate change suggests a future summer drought could leave Fishtrap Creek with too little water, jeopardizing the health of two small fish that are considered endangered.

The province has told the city that if it wants to indefinitely draw from its wells during the summer months, it must build a new well to provide water to Fishtrap Creek when necessary and offset any potential reduction of streamflows caused by the Bevan Wells.

The creek, which runs from the U.S. border north to Fishtrap Creek Park and beyond, has extensive habitat for the Nooksack dace and Salish sucker.

Both are small fish with habitat limited to northwestern Washington and the Fraser Valley. In Canada, the Nooksack Dace – which grows to less than six inches long – is found only in four creeks. The Salish Sucker, which isn’t much larger, is found in just 11 watercourses.

It is hoped a new well will ensure Fishtrap Creek continues to have enough water to continue to allow the fish to survive. The well, when complete, would be connected to stations that would monitor the level of the creek.

The city has now released a request for proposals (RFP) for a consultant to design and construct the project. A price tag is not included.


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tolsen@abbynews.com

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