The Nicola Tribal Association’s (NTA) fisheries department, the Nicola Watershed Stewardship and Fisheries Authority (NWSFA) had been noticing an increase in recreational vehicle damage in the upper Coldwater River watershed, first observed in 2006. In one case vehicle tracks had gone right over the location of known early timed spring chinook redds, potentially crushing the eggs. Early timed spring chinook are presently at critically low population levels.
For the 2009 project year the NTA secured funding from the Fraser Watershed and Salmon Program (FSWP) to continue to implement an education and awareness campaign for the upper Coldwater River watershed, with the target audience being the recreational users.
The focus of the project continues to be to educate the users, rather than enforce their activities, of the sensitive instream and riparian habitats, the negative impacts associated with operating recreational vehicles in/near streams, as well as the salmonid stocks that use the Coldwater River.
From June to October 2009 the NTA crew conducted roving surveys to educate and interview the users of the upper Coldwater River watershed. Interviewees were invited to fill out a questionnaire. With 2008 being the first year of the project data collected was used to create a baseline for comparison in future years. Completion of a second year (2009) saw a refinement of data collected, and a second year of overwhelming support.
The NTA crew conducted a total of 181 interviews in 2009. Through these interviews office staff were able to calculate a total of 3,424.5 user days, and 1,569.5 recreational vehicle days through the duration of the project. It was also found that Brodie Siding continues to be the most popular camping area, with 48% of area users camping here. This area is adjacent to/on top of important early timed spring chinook spawning habitat.