Sunday, October 29, 2006

Birds From A Cariboo Deck. No.1: Steller's Jay

This is the first in an occasional series featuring photographs I've taken of birds that visit my Cariboo back yard. It seemed appropriate to start with BC's provincial bird, the


The Steller's Jay is an occasional visitor but this year has decided to stay a while. It's now around two weeks and he/she is still here, filling up regularly with sunflower seeds, water and a little suet.

More Birds from A Cariboo Deck

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Record low levels in many Interior rivers

The BC Ministry of Environment's River Forecast Centre reports record (50-100 years) lows for many BC Interior rivers. These include:
  • most gauged rivers in the Peace
  • Fraser River at Hope
  • Fraser River at Prince George
  • Thompson River at Spences Bridge
  • North Thompson River at McLure
  • Coldwater River
  • Eagle River (at Malakwa)
  • Salmon River (at Salmon Arm)
  • Quesnel River
  • Bella Coola River
  • Saloomt River (at Hagensborg)
  • Tulameen River
Most of the BC interior is approaching freeze-up, with night-time temperatures now falling to below freezing at many of our snow pillow sites. If significant rainfall does not occur in the next three-to-four weeks, precipitation may occur as snow and rivers will remain at their low levels for the duration of the winter.

The Pacific Northwest is currently experiencing mild El Nino conditions, with a resultant tendency for warmer than normal and drier than normal conditions for the autumn and winter.
The Fraser River running through the central Cariboo
Photo JN Web Design

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Perspective on the Lodgepole Pine

Dave NeadsGuest article by Dave Neads, director of the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition and of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society. He is a member of the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Resource Committee, represents the West Chilcotin Tourism Association regionally and writes a bi-monthly column on conservation issues for the Williams Lake Tribune.


The Lodgepole pine is an amazing tree. You can find it at sea level and on the backside of the coast mountains huddled against boulders at 6500 feet. One species, one adaptation, capable of living in this huge range of habitats.

That is what survival is all about, having the genetic options available to adapt to a huge range of conditions. We are all familiar with the coastal rain forests and the way they are promoted as havens for biodiversity. We're always reading about how many species there are per hectare, how many tonnes of biomass per cubic meter are produced.

The same is true of the tropical rainforest. The Amazon Basin is touted as a global hotspot, an area of such significance that it must be protected; must be treated differently because of its wealth of diversity.

While all of this is factual, it is only valid in times of relatively constant climate parameters.

The one thing these rainforests cannot tolerate, the one thing that kills them permanently, is a large scale shift in either water or temperature regimes. Because of this, these rainforests, whether tropical or temperate, actually occupy very restricted niches in the global ecosystem and are intolerant of any real shifts in the climate that supports them.

We are approaching times of instability, times of large shifts in climate, of large shifts in habitat structure and availability. The gene pool needed to cope with this milieu needs to be robust, adaptable and capable of living under a wide range of conditions.

The interior dry pine forests are a excellent example of the gene pool needed in the coming turbulence of climate disruption. These trees already have the ability to grow in wet warm places on the windward side of the mountains while at the same time thriving in the dry valley bottoms in the Fraser Canyon and on the highest tree line patches on the western edge of the Chilcotin Cariboo.

Such resilience is what needs to be respected, what needs to be set aside. The Mountain Pine Beetle is selecting out a huge percentage of the pine in the region of its interior habitat. When this process is done, the trees that are left will have the resilience to the beetle combined with the already acquired traits of survivability over a broad range of forest habitat.

This is the kind of gene pool that will survive; one that is strong, hardy, able to withstand the coming shocks. Now more than ever, as climate change marches across the globe, it is necessary to leave large areas of temperate interior dry forest intact. It is these areas that will provide the genetic reservoirs for the next generation of forest communities that will inhabit the region.

These trees that we take for granted may not be hundreds of feet tall, they may not be good pin-up material, but our interior dry forests are far tougher, more adaptable and vigorous than their warm climate cousins who will not survive a major shift in their habitat. We must make sure that we set aside areas where the the pine forests of the Chilcotin Cariboo can recover from this beetle and survive in enough numbers to blaze the evolutionary path in the coming decades.

- Dave Neads

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Bull Trout at Risk in BC

James Murray, in the Salmon Arm Observer, begins a new series on "mismanaging natural resources".
As I stood on the banks of the Adams River last week, watching, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say looking for, the sockeye salmon that were supposed to be returning to spawn (who knows for sure what is happening with the sockeye runs), I found myself pondering the plight of yet another fish species.
Read on

British Columbia Species at Risk

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Owner of Country Inn Motel describes the fire experience

Ted Hlokoff sent me this account. It is followed by a link to the article he and his wife Deana wrote for the Williams Lake Tribune.
I am a car collector and had many tools and car parts were lost in the fire. I have much more car stuff that was saved from the fire. Once it was obvious to me that the Motel fire was out of control I screamed for everyone to run away. Then I went to the Motel garage, threw a few parts into my 92 Stealth R/T Twin Turbo, and drove it out to the street. During the fire I realized that I had forgotten to get the keys to my Shelby Daytona, which was parked in front of the Motel. Interesting what heat can do.

The fire burned to the edge of the Nimpo Store's 10,000gl fuel tank, but it was undamaged. The 1,000gl Dell Propane Tank behind the Motel vented a few times, but it ended up undamaged as well. We are thankful that the safety features worked the way they were supposed to preventing a disaster. The Motel was surrounded by trees, which burned, but because there was no wind the fire contained itself, thank God.
- Fire collapses Country Inn Motel - Ted and Deana Hlokoff's article in the Williams Lake Tribune.