Upper Bulkley River Streamkeepers are moving ahead with a small coho hatchery in Houston.
They plan to build a temporary structure beside the Chamber of Commerce in Steelhead Park this fall. There they will incubate 10,000 coho salmon eggs over the winter.
If it is successful and gets enough support, Streamkeepers plan to build a permanent structure in spring 2016.
The District of Houston approved the permit at a meeting last Tuesday.
Streamkeepers founder Cindy Verbeek says volunteers will build the hatchery and their goal is to finish by mid-September when the salmon come.
The hatchery will be heated and have a shock absorbing platform to protect the eggs from being disturbed by shockwaves from the nearby railroad.
In mid-September, trained volunteers will capture two female and two male adult coho salmon.
The salmon will be kept in a holding tank until they are ready to spawn.
Then Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Streamkeepers will collect and fertilize up to 10,000 eggs from the salmon.
The eggs will be incubated October 2015 to May 2016, Verbeek said.
They will be released back into the Upper Bulkley in May and June 2016.
Verbeek says the goal of the project is to revitalize the declining salmon population and enhance the endangered Upper Bulkley River.
It is also to educate, raise awareness and grow appreciation for salmon.
To that end, Streamkeepers plan to put in an interpretation kiosk and viewing portal if the structure becomes permanent.
DFO will supply much of the hatchery equipment, as well as technical information, knowledge and training for volunteers.
The Pacific Salmon Foundation gave a grant of $5,000 to help build the hatchery.
Verbeek says they are looking for more donations and building supplies.
Verbeek says Streamkeepers has four to ten active volunteers, 40 Facebook followers, and 23 people getting email updates.
This fall, volunteers will be offered training about capturing the adult salmon (to get eggs), running the hatchery, and monitoring the Upper Bulkley River (Little Bulkley).
For more information find “UBR Streamkeepers” on Facebook.
Anyone interested in being involved with the hatchery and monitoring and caring for the Upper Bulkley should contact Cindy at 250-845-2222.