The Dinosaurs of the River

White sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus, is an ancient species of ray-finned fishes found only in western North America. They have lived in the deep pools, eddies and estuary of the lower Fraser River Valley since time immemorial.

The white sturgeon is the biggest and longest-lived freshwater fish in Canada. Individual sturgeons can weigh over 450 kilos and be more than three metres long and 100 years in age!

The White Sturgeon
Photo Credit: Dusty Waite

Population decline over decades has led to the lower Fraser white sturgeon being designated Threatened by the independent Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

The recreational catch-and-release fishery, along with tagging studies, has provided precise population estimates for sturgeon in the Fraser River. While adult populations now appear to be stable or increasing slightly, habitat degradation continues, and juvenile populations are still on the decline.

The side channels of Herrling Island are one of the most important spawning areas on the lower river for white sturgeon. While little can be done to offset the enormous loss of floodplains due to diking, remaining habitats such as the Heart of the Fraser are especially crucial to rebuilding juvenile populations.

“10,000 years of post-glacial island production of fish, and it will be gone just like that.” – Dr. Marvin Rosenau

That’s why we are asking you to sign the petition to oppose further diking and bridge building in the Heart of the Fraser. Please help us protect essential white sturgeon spawning and rearing habitat.

Sign the Petition

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Saving the Eulachon of the Fraser

Small, oil-rich smelts called eulachon return to spawn each spring in the Fraser, Skeena, Nass and Klinaklini river systems in British Columbia. The scientific name for Pacific Ocean eulachon is Thaleichethys pacificus, which means rich ocean fish. Eulachon is also known as oolichan, ooligan or candlefish because their oil content is so high they can be lit like a candle when dried.

Eulachon has always been a cultural keystone species for Pacific Northwest Indigenous people. Eulachon grease was a valuable trading commodity, and there were at least 23 main “grease trail” trade routes connecting the coast to the interior of B.C.

Dave Gordon Eulochan
Photo credit: Dave Gordon

The once-abundant pacific eulachon species is now in decline. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has assessed three populations in Canada: Fraser River as Endangered, Central Pacific Coast as Endangered and Nass/Skeena Rivers as species of Special Concern.

Fraser River eulachon comes home to spawn in the lower reaches of the river’s arm as far upstream as the Heart of the Fraser. Habitat loss, pollution, directed fisheries, logging, and marine mammal predation can all create adverse conditions for the fish. One of the threats to the eulachon’s recovery is streamflow alteration from banking and road building.

Please help us defend eulachon spawning and rearing habitat by signing the petition to oppose the approval of a permanent bridge and development on the Heart of the Fraser islands.

Sign the Petition

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Maple Crusted Toasted Elk Marrow


4-6 Elk Marrow Bones cut length wise

Kosher Salt, Pepper

1 cup, Maple Sugar

Parsley Salad

1 Bushel of curled parsley

Lemon zest off one lemon

Juice of one lemon

Kosher salt to taste

I cup of finely chopped scallions


waterImmerse Elk Bones in a bath of cold water over night to rid any impurities. Try and change the water occasionally.

Arrange on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. You may need to use a bit of rolled up tinfoil to keep the marrow bones from sitting sideways.

Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and place in a 400’ oven for 20-25 minutes or until the marrow is a bubbling golden brown.

butterWhile you are waiting, slice up your baguette into crostini size pieces, about one inch. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and bake in the oven on a cookie sheet at 300 till golden brown. Watch these carefully as they can burn. Take out and set aside.

Take the marrow bones out of the oven and generously sprinkle with maple sugar. You can put back in the oven on broil, carefully watching it, till the sugar is melted, or you can use a torch to achieve the same result.


After this step, allow to rest on your counter top while you prepare the parsley salad.

In a bowl, combined chopped parsley, lemon zest, juice of one lemon and finely chopped scallions. Mix very well, sprinkling with kosher salt.

Place the parsley salad generously on top of the elk marrow. Arrange on a plate, with crostini’s and some small appetizer spoons for scooping the marrow and placing on the crostini.


The Beat of the River

The stretch of the Fraser River that rambles the distance between Hope and Mission has extraordinary environmental value. Because of this, it has become known as the “Heart of the Fraser.”

Fraser River
Photo Credit: Jessica Rodriguez

In the depths of the water, there is a wondrous aquatic-ecosystem found in the gravel reach. This includes thirty or more different species of fish that spawn, rear and migrate through this part of the Fraser River. This area boasts one of the largest spawning populations of salmon in British Columbia and is a key spawning ground for sturgeon, not to mention, it is home to a myriad of increasingly-rare plants and animals. Historically this stretch of water comprises of one of the greatest salmonid and sturgeon network of channels, islands and wetlands of its type in the world.

Unfortunately, it has been estimated that over 90% of this landscape has been lost through clearing, diking, ditching, bank hardening, and draining.  These altered lands form the agricultural communities of Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack and Agassiz.  Approximately five large island complexes are remaining between the dikes that are still subject to natural fluvial processes.  Most of these rare and endangered islands and channel habitats that remain were turned in pulpwood (poplar-cottonwood) forests over the last several decades.

Herrling Island
Herrling Island before and after clearcutting for agriculture.

Two of these islands, located between Agassiz and Hope, are known to be key white sturgeon spawning habitats and comprise of some of the most important main channel chum salmon spawning and cutthroat trout, sockeye, and chinook juvenile salmon rearing areas. These islands, Carey and Herrling island, after being harvested for pulpwood have been sold to multiple landowners that have indicated that they are going to turn these properties into agricultural lands. Two bridges are also being proposed to be built across the islands. These developments involve stripping the vegetation, draining wetlands, filling in fish habitat and eventually ditching and diking.  This part of the Fraser River is subject to rapid natural erosion and armouring the banks of the stream to protect the land, will result in a complete disruption of the natural functioning of the fluvial processes under which sustains this ecosystem.  Because these are keystone properties for the Heart of the Fraser ecosystem and its white sturgeon populations, if they are continued to be developed, this ecosystem will ultimately collapse.

But there is an alternate fate for these islands. With the islands being cleared they provide a clean slate, with which to replant with a mixture of truly native plants.  A graduate student from BCIT is currently putting together an environmental restoration plan if the properties can be purchased and secured.

Fraser River
Photo Credit: Jessica Rodriguez

In the recognition that these ecosystem losses must be stopped and the lands secured, several private individuals, institutions and non-governmental environmental organizations have coalesced with the BC Wildlife Federation so we may work together to provide a living legacy for future generations at the Heart of the Fraser.

The first step of this coalition is to convince the government that bridges should not be built on these islands and to spread awareness about how important this area, The Heart of the Fraser, is to local hunters, anglers, and conservationists.

Help us Defend the Heart of the Fraser.

Sign the Petition

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The Power of the Pen

Chad A. Larson
Here is Chad on one of his many outdoor adventures.

Our next Wildlife Warrior is Chad A. Parent, Vice President of the Golden District Rod and Gun Club. As well, we would like to give special recognition to all the members of the Golden District Rod and Gun Club. We are recognizing Chad and the Golden District Rod and Gun Club for their hard work they do in the name of conservation, specifically the powerful letter they wrote to Minister Donaldson on Wildlife and Habitat Management.

Chad grew up fishing and hunting small game. As he grew older and entered adulthood, he left hunting behind and focused on his career and raising a family. It has only been in the past few years that Chad has brought hunting back into his life.

“I have a wife and three children, and I wanted to educate them about conservation and teach them the importance of providing for themselves.”

Chad also came to a point in his life where he wanted to get more involved in his community and do more for conservation. Just in the past 19 years, he saw the decline in wildlife populations in the Kootenays. The more research Chad did, the more he realized there are a lot of declines happening all over BC and he wanted to do more to help. It was two years ago that Chad joined the Golden District Rod and Gun Club, hoping this would be a way for him to do more for conservation and to get more involved in the community.

Chad. A parent and Russel Wagner
Russell Wagner (right) and Chad assisting the Conservation Officer Service in the recovery of a grizzly bear collar from the backcountry around Golden.

A little under a year ago, Chad attended a meeting at the club on the proposed Grizzly Bear hunt by the government. He heard that someone was going to write a letter to the government and wanted to be involved in the discussion. Unfortunately, the individual did not write the letter. Chad took it upon himself to pick up the pen and write the letter. He has been writing letters ever since.

Chad and the members of the Golden District Rod and Gun Club try to stay active in their community, “We try our best to get people involved and informed.”

The Golden District Rod and Gun Club are working on getting back to their roots of conservation. In doing so, they have formed a conservation committee who come together to hammer out questions and answers and form responses to various issues, such as Wildlife and Habitat Management.

In an aim to educate the community and get them more involved, the club hosted their first semi annual film night at a local theatre. Admission was free, and they showed a powerful film by Donnie Vincent on hunting. Chad says the club is also working on putting a dock at Susan lake and they are looking into wildlife management initiatives in their private woodlot. A portion of the club’s revenue comes from their woodlot, where they harvest timber. The club has hired a wildlife biologist to develop a management plan for the timber lot, so they can enhance wildlife habitat.

Chad A. Parent at 2018 BCWF AGM
A lunch meeting with other conservationists at the 2018 BCWF AGM. From left to right: Byron Trask CORE examiner, Rick Hoar president of Lake Windermere District Rod and Gun Club, Chad Parent GDR&GC, Russell Wagner GDR&GC, Glenn Flynn Regional president 4E, Iver Larson past president of BCWF, and Dave White past president of BCWF

“The club and I, we are working to make positive change. We want to do something good for fish and wildlife and our community. If the next generation doesn’t care about fish and wildlife, then we are in trouble. We need to put pressure on the government to take wildlife seriously. There are cracks in the system, and we need to work to fix them and work towards making wildlife important to all.”

Chad says a year ago he was stumped at trying to figure out what he could do for fish and wildlife. But he found inspiration in others.

“Rob Chipman was a huge influence, and through conversations with him, he was able to lead me down the right path of what I could do to give back. I also have a lot of respect for Alex Johnson, the previous Wildlife Warrior. He does a lot. When I read his article, I wondered if one day I would be a Wildlife Warrior…and here we are. I couldn’t believe it.”

Chad and the Golden District Rod and Gun club will continue to do their part to educate the community to help the conservation of fish, wildlife and their habitats, and most of all to write to the government so they understand how important fish and wildlife are to the people of BC.

“I do this for my children and for my family. I am a hunter because I want to be able to provide healthy food for my family and educate them on conservation. I just hope that my kids will be proud of their dear old dad.”

Chad A. Larson
Chad and his three sons out hunting.

Read Chad’s letter for the Golden District Rod and Gun Club to Minister Donaldson:

Letter to Minister Donaldson

Salmon Ceviche

Sossy Outdoors: Salmon Ceviche

Salmon fishing! It’s that time of year again where every angler is heading to our oceans in search for our beautiful Chinook. It is the largest of our Pacific Salmon Species. It is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, B12 and protein. In a 100 gram serving the Chinook boasts 26 grams of protein. There are so many ways to create amazing dishes with your salmon. This recipe is simple, flavorful, and doesn’t require cooking!

Ceviche is a Peruvian dish that cooks the fish in the acid of citrus fruit which is a century old method of cooking. On a hot summer day, nothing is more refreshing than a chilled Ceviche with Tortilla Chips. It will please your guests and keep them coming back for more.

set up

There are many different varities of Ceviche and normally a white fish is used. However, Salmon gives it a rich, nutty depth of flavor with a firm texture. After you have cubed your fish into bite size pieces, and immersed in citrus juice, you will notice the transformation of color as it begins to cook the fish.


4 cups of  skinless cubed salmon fillet

1 avocado, pitted, skinned and cubed

1 mango, skinned, pitted and cubed

Juice of 6 limes

1 tablespoon Lime Zest

1 green chili, seeded and chopped

¾ cup chopped cilantro

2 radishes sliced very thin

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon Mango Balsamic

1 tablespoon Lime Olive Oil

½ red onion diced small

Kosher Salt to taste


lemons and limes

Cube the Salmon and add to a big bowl. Add juice of Limes, lime zest, a pinch of Kosher Salt. Add in Cilantro and stir well. Cover with plastic and place in your fridge for at least 30 minutes to marinate. Stir the salmon 2-3 times over the course of thirty minutes.

In a separate bowl, add your cubed avocado, mango, sliced radishes, red onion, and green chili. Stir well, adding a pinch of Kosher Salt, olive oil and mango balsamic.

Take your salmon out of the fridge and gently stir into your fruit and vegetable mixture. I like to add about another ½ cup of fresh cilantro and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

Serve with tortilla chips. I like to dish the Ceviche out into a long white deep dish to really show off the color and vibrancy of this spectacular plate.


Thank-you for your Support

On route to our Lake Country Go Wild Camp, our youth programs team were involved in a car accident. While no one was badly hurt, we regret that we had to cancel the Lake Country program.

We’d like to put out another thank-you to all those who assisted our youth programs Coordinator, Chris Lim, and his team after the incident. Thank-you Bob and Rhonda Everett of the OCEOLA club for letting Chris stay with you for a brief time. Thank-you Sam Badminton and Robert Gordon for going out and helping unload all our youth program equipment from the truck. We’d also like to thank Barb König and Pat Whittingham for checking on Chris and Derek while they were at the hospital. We’d also like to thank Dave Carleton for going out and grabbing the undamaged canopy from the truck.

Another thank-you goes out to Jocelyne Velando of Avis Car Rental and Danny Coyne of Budget Car Rental, and all those who have sent your kind words and support. Thank-you!

“We’d like to say a special thanks to everyone who assisted us after our accident, especially Bob and Rhonda who gave Derek and I a place to stay last week while we were recovering from the accident.  We’d also like to thank the Kettle Wildlife Association who have brought in extra volunteers: Les Best, Julian Willsey, Scott Douglas, Jim, Rick, Ron and Mary to help with our Rock Creek Go Wild camp, as Derek and I continue to heal.

The Rock Creek Camp is going well, the kids are having fun, and we couldn’t have done it without all the extra support. Derek and I want to also send out our sincerest apology for not being able to put on our Go Wild Camp in Lake Country. We know several boys and girls were looking forward to it and we are sorry we had to cancel the camp.” -Chris Lim, Youth Program Coordinator

Rock Creek Go Wild 2018
The Rock Creek Go Wild Camp was able to go as scheduled with volunteers from the Kettle Wildlife Association pitching in an extra helping hand to our Youth Program leaders.  

Coconut Thai Curry Mussels

Sossy Outdoors: Coconut Thai Curry Mussels


2 kilograms Mussels (cleaned, scrubbed, de bearded)

¼ cup Basil Olive Oil

1 tsp Fennel Seed

1 tsp Cumin Seed

1 tsp Mustard Seed

1 large Onion diced

4 tablespoons Garlic diced

2 tablespoons Ginger paste

2 tsp Turmeric

Kosher Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

One package colored Cherry Tomatoes

1 can Coconut Milk

1 cup Chicken broth ( or half wine and half broth)

4-6 tablespoons Garam Masala ( mixture of black and white peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom pods, bay leaf, cumin)


Heat up large skillet style pan with deep sides with Basil Olive Oil. When the oil starts to heat up, add fennel, cumin, and mustard seed. When the seeds begin to pop and become aromatic, add onion, ginger and garlic. Mix well and add a ¼ cup of chicken broth. Allow spicesit to steam, turning the heat down to medium. Slowly add coconut milk to mixture.  Begin slicing the cherry tomatoes and adding them to sauce, mixing them in so they are immersed in the liquid. Add carrot strips. Sprinkle Garam Masala over the sauce and gently whisk in, continuously till it is all gone. Add Kosher salt and pepper. Continue to cook on medium heat till the cherry tomatoes are well broken down. Add the rest of the chicken broth and stir.  Take a spoon and test your sauce to make sure you have enough salt and spice. Feel free to add whatever you believe you need as everyone has a slightly different palate than the next person!

Now it is time to add the Mussels. Add them to you sauce, gently evening them out around the pan. Place a secure lid overtop. As the steam builds, the Mussels will begin to open. After about five minutes, remove from heat and lift the lid. Gently stir the Mussel mixture.



There are different ways for presentation to your family or guests. You can pour the entire skillet onto a large platter, so all can take from the same plate. Or, you can have individual bowls. I scoop the Mussels out evenly into 6-8 bowls and then pour the sauce with a ladle overtop.

Garnish your platter with fresh cilantro or scallions and lime wedges. Don’t forget your sliced Ciabatta Bread to soak up that amazing broth!


Platter of Mussels