Fort Babine Hatchery
Project Name: Project Name: Fort Babine CEDP
Partner Group: Lake Babine Nation
Brenda Donas, Community Advisor
Oceans, Habitat and Enhancement, North coast
The Fort Babine Hatchery Project is located on the upper Babine River across from the community of Fort Babine and is approximately 120 kms northwest of the Town of Smithers. The project is accessible by logging road and sits right on the banks of the Babine River just downstream from the outlet of Babine Lake.
The Fort Babine project was initiated in 1983 to rebuild Babine River chinook and coho stocks. From 1998 to 2001, hatchery coho production was increased as part of the Strategic Stock Enhancement Program. This increase in production involved conducting smolt releases and fry outplants into under-utilized habitat. The strategic enhancement, along with harvest reductions, was successful in rebulding Babine coho stocks. After the coho stocks were rebuilt, the project focus shifted to chinook enhancement. From 2005 to 2009, the Fort Babine hatchery produced exclusively chinook fry. Due to healthy coho and chinook runs, enhancement at the Fort Babine hatchery was no longer necessary and the project direction changed.
Since the year 2010, the project emphasis is on habitat monitoring of Lake Babine and Babine River tributaries. The purpose is to determine the current state of the habitat given current and past resource impacts. The habitat monitoring involves conducting detailed stream surveys, aquatic insect surveys and juvenile trapping on tributaries to Lake Babine and the Babine River, that are important for sockeye and coho. Each year the stream survey crew looks at two to three different streams.
The Fort Babine project staff are also involved in a variety of Outreach activities including a BC Rivers Day event and providing the Stream to Sea Program at the Fort Babine School. The Fort Babine hatchery building is being used as a Watershed Resource Centre where the public have the opportunity to view and learn about the salmon resource.
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