A Teck report shows populations of mayflies, and to a lesser degree stoneflies and caddisflies, have declined downstream of mining areas in the Elk Valley. File photo

Mayfly decline alarms ERA

An area of concern is the upper Fording River, where mayflies have declined over a distance of 12km.

A community-based water group has raised concerns about dwindling mayfly numbers downstream of mining areas in the Elk Valley.

The latest report from the Elk River Watershed Regional Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program (RAEMP) shows populations of mayflies, and to a lesser degree stoneflies and caddisflies, have declined.

Of the 59 mine-exposed areas sampled in 2015, almost half (27 of 59) had proportions of these aquatic insects that were less the normal ranges for those species, according to the 2015-16 report.

The decline was attributed to “increasing gradients of mine-related influence on water quality and calcite”.

Elk River Alliance Interim Executive Director Allie Ferguson said this was concerning.

“Any decline in mayflies is important to monitor as mayflies are a particularly sensitive aquatic insect in a complex ecosystem that can tell us about the overall health of the watershed,” she said.

“We hope to see the results of causation studies as soon as possible, given the importance of mayflies to the ecology of the Elk River system, including as food for fish.”

An area of concern is the upper Fording River, where mayflies have declined over a distance of about 12km.

However, the species has been shown to recover in other areas including downstream from Greenhills Operations and upstream and downstream from Line Creek Operations.

Teck’s Manager of Social Responsibility Nic Milligan said a number of factors could be at play in Fording River.

“Factors may include both mining-related and natural factors, such as nitrate concentrations, temperature trends and annual variation in river flow,” he said.

“Further monitoring and assessment is being completed to investigate and confirm cause for the mayfly reduction.

“In addition, the RAEMP and numerous local aquatic effects monitoring programs, along with our chronic toxicity testing program and multiple supporting studies, will continue to be implemented to support understanding of aquatic health within the Elk River watershed, which includes mayflies.”

The Elk River Watershed RAEMP report was one of 13 technical reports published online by Teck Coal last month in an effort to increase its transparency.

Just Posted

Thrift shop turns five

Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society has raised $370,000 since inception

Elk Valley mayors to lead hospital district board

Dean McKerracher, David Wilks elected to Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board

Rezoning paves way for next stages of Montane Fernie

Multi-family units, cottages, recreational facilities planned as part of multimillion-dollar project

Ghostriders defuse Dynamiters at home

Game 13 proves unlucky for Mountain division leaders Kimberley

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Kimberley’s Ron Rossi wins a million dollars

Big win leads to early retirement

Break-in at home of detained Chinese Huawei executive

Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver on America’s request

Natural gas rates will go up in B.C. on Jan. 1

Regions could pay up to $68 more

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

It could be an “impeachable offense” if it’s proven that President Donald Trump directed illegal hush-money payments to women during the 2016 campaign.

Most Read