Westslope Cutthroat Trout Workshop Recap

Photo: Brett Elmslie presenting to workshop attendees.

Fernie, BC - Last week ERA hosted a Westslope Cutthroat Trout (WCT) workshop at the Best Western in Fernie. The workshop aimed to educate the public on the WCT population in the Elk Valley and to discuss community member’s concerns for the species.

The workshop began with a presentation by Brett Elmslie, who is ERA’s Fish and Fish Habitat Project Coordinator. This presentation educated attendees on WCT’s life history, the negative effects that human activity can have on the species and the initiative that ERA has launched to promote the conservation and understanding of the Elk River watershed population.

The workshop concluded with a mapping activity that had small groups identify areas where important WCT habitat has been degraded and/or areas sensitive to negative impacts. Participants identified more than 15 areas of concern and as a group discussed the possible past and/or future drivers of degradation. These identified areas will be evaluated by ERA to determine the severity of degradation and the most severely degraded habitats will be the focus for future habitat restoration projects.

The information gathered from this workshop will contribute to the success of the Westslope Cutthroat Trout Research Initiative, a project launched by ERA in March 2019. This initiative aims to identify and map important WCT spawning and rearing habitat, evaluate habitat restoration opportunities, and communicate easy-to-understand, current WCT information to the community. By gathering and sharing this information, fisheries managers, industry and community members will be better able to actively work towards reducing threats and ensuring a sustainable and healthy WCT population.

To learn more about WCT in the Elk Valley and what you can do to help protect the species around this time of the year, click here.

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