A noted increase in phytoplankton production in Upper Adams Lake indicates that an Upper Adams sockeye run restoration project is proceeding as planned.
2021 was the second year of a four-year project led by the Adams Lake Band, aimed at bringing the Upper Adams salmon run back to sustainable levels that the Band said collapsed ago. more than a century as a result of logging. , splash barriers and other factors.
âThe salmon that returned to the Upper Adams and Adams River have supported our community for thousands of years and it is imperative that we see this run regain its former glory,â commented former Adams Lake Kukpi7 (Chief) Cliff Arnouse in an announcement about the project in January 2020.
The first year of the project focused on data collection. This year, it was about adding nutrients, in the form of agricultural grade liquid fertilizer, to the lake. Overseeing the project, licensed professional biologist Don Holmes of Lakeside Environmental explained that these nutrients, essential for fish growth, were once provided by dead salmon dumped into the lake after spawning and death. However, with the collapse of the Upper Adams run, the lake became ultra-oligotrophic – essentially devoid of the nutrients necessary for the growth of fry and smolts.
Holmes said nutrients were added to the lake from April to the end of August. This was accompanied by extensive monitoring, to assess the impact of ‘nutrient enrichment activities used to increase food availability for juvenile salmon and support the restoration of degraded lake culture habitat for Upper Adams Lake sockeye salmon by adding limited nutrients to the lake (nitrogen / phosphorus). “
As a result of this year’s activities, there has been an increase in the production of phytoplankton, which Holmes says is the primary food source for zooplankton in the lake.
âZooplankton are the primary food source for young sockeye salmon and will allow smolts to grow better,â said Holmes. âThe increased size of sockeye smolts will result in better survival rates on their ocean migration. “
The results of the second year activities indicated that the addition of nutrients resulted in an increase in the production of phytoplankton, which is the main food source for zooplankton in the lake. Zooplankton are the main food source for young sockeye salmon and will allow smolts to grow better. Increasing the size of sockeye smolts will result in better survival rates on their ocean migration.
Holmes said nutrients will continue to be added to the lake in 2022 and 2023. The project is scheduled to end in March 2024.
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