Coldwater River Habitat Education and Awareness

The Coldwater River is one of the most important systems in the Nicola watershed for early timed spring chinook (critically low population levels), Interior Fraser coho (Endangered, COSEWIC), Thompson steelhead (stock of concern), and bull trout (Provincial blue listed) for both spawning and rearing. The upper Coldwater River watershed is heavily impacted by campers from May to September. Since 2006 NTA fisheries staff have visually observed an increase in recreational vehicle use and damage in the upper Coldwater River watershed. Staff observed vehicle tracks running over the site of known chinook redds. The focus is to educate these users, to change their behavior in order to preserve fish habitat values in the Coldwater River. For 2009 the project objectives were:

1. Attend ATV club meetings in winter 2009/2010, interior/coastal, to present two years of data and discuss possible trail and river crossing changes,

2. Continue to collect data through questionnaires, educate area users, and monitor negative impacts,

3. Collaborate with ATV/BC Kamloops in creating an information pamphlet focusing on stream area riding for the province, and

4. Redesign and install new signage. Redesigning as necessary for specific spawning habitats near/in river crossings.

A total of 181 interviews were conducted. Data collected has given the following results:

907 users visited the Study Area,

3,424.5 user days,

452 recreational vehicles operated in the Study Area,

1,569.5 recreational vehicle days,

77% of Study Area users reside in the Lower Mainland,

18% of users were affiliated with an ATV/BC club,

Brodie Siding camping area was the most popular (48% of users),

21 river crossings were located, photographed, and waypoints recorded, and

89% of users would use bridges if they were installed.