Kitsumkalum Band to Dye Skeena River in Fisheries Test

John Crawford

If the Skeena River appears to glow a fluorescent pink in the Terrace area over the next few days, residents shouldn't be alarmed.

That reassurance from the Kitsumkalum Band, as its Fish and Wildlife Operations Department conducts a spill response project, involving what it calls a highly visible, non-toxic, biodegradable dye, called "rhodamine".

The band plans two releases of the dye -- one this week (Tuesday through until Friday) near Kitsumkalum, and the other in the Khyex River area in mid-August -- in order to catch two different flow rates.

Kitsumkalum says, with CN Rail traffic and train lengths increasing -- and with the railway planning to transport more hazardous materials -- the First Nation is concerned about the impacts of a spill into the Skeena River.

[PHOTO:   File -- US Geological Survey] 


It says the dye's movement will be monitored by drones and sensors, and by satellite through GPS  trackers to determine what path it takes.

The First Nation says the study findings will be shared with CN, as well as the federal and BC governments, to help researchers understand how a spill would affect the river.

Fish and Wildlife Operations manager Mark Biagi insists the test will not cause any environmental impacts.

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