The B.C. government says salmon stuck at a massive landslide on the Fraser River north of Lillooet can now be transported upstream by truck, as crews conducted a successful trial run on Sunday.
The province says rock scalers have also moved two large boulders as part of ongoing efforts to create a natural passage for fish to swim past the slide on their way to spawning grounds.
To date, an estimated 28,780 salmon have passed the slide on their own, while nearly 57,000 have been transported by helicopter.
The province says water levels continue to drop, making it easier for fish to move upstream while improving conditions for crews working at the slide.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the B.C. government and local First Nations have been working together since June trying to ensure hundreds of thousands of salmon have a chance to spawn.
Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has called the landslide a “crisis situation” and said 2019 has been an especially difficult year for wild Pacific salmon, while pointing to climate change as the main driving factor in what has been a decades-long decline in stocks.
In one of the most dramatic shifts, Wilkinson's department adjusted the number of returning Fraser River sockeye expected this year to a little more than 600,000, down from an earlier projection of nearly five million.