Coldwater River. Water is life.
"For the fish and the creatures that live within it, for the land it nourishes, and for the people whose thirst it quenches. It is a precious resource, and our rivers are constantly threatened by temperature and human intervention. Please do your utmost to act with respect and responsibility toward our water."
- Ruth Tolerton from the Lower Nicala Indian Band
An important ecosystem
The Coldwater River is 95 kilometers long with a watershed of 917 square kilometers, flowing into the Nicola River which flows into the Thompson River before then meeting the Fraser River and flowing into the ocean. The Coldwater River is one of the most important systems in the Nicola watershed for early timed Fraser River chinook salmon, Interior Fraser coho, Thompson steelhead, and bull trout. Spawning Chinook and Steelhead were at record lows in 2018 in the Nicola watershed and both populations have been recommended for listing as endangered under the Species at Risk Act.
The Coldwater River is impacted by a variety of human activities from water withdrawals from the river for agricultural and other purposes, forestry practices, and impacts to habitat caused by recreational users such as ATV's. Coldwater River salmon are also impacted by fishing pressure and poor ocean conditions which have reduced marine survival. Currently, the Pacific Salmon Foundation is taking steps to restore the Coldwater River including investing in habitat restoration projects, and fishing is being restricted to try to boost the numbers of fish reaching spawning grounds.
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