WATCH: As temperatures break records across Vancouver Island, experts are sounding the alarm for the rivers and the salmon that call them home. Aaron Guillen has that story.
Hot and sunny days usually signal the start of the summer, but rising temperatures are anything but welcome news for B.C. rivers and streams.
“For Vancouver Island, we do need to get some wetter weather,” says Dave Campbell, Head of River Forecast Centre.
“It’s been dry for the last three months.”
This time last May, B.C. had almost three times the amount of snowpack feeding its waterways.
But with Vancouver Island at 40 per cent below normal, concerns are rising.
“It’s always scary when we’re coming into the hot season for the salmon,” says Aaron Hill, Executive Director of Watershed Watch Society.
“We never know how they’re gonna fare.”
The lower the water levels are, the easier it is for water temperatures to rise.
And warmer water puts significant stress on fish, including young salmon migrating through rivers in the summer.
“They become more susceptible to pathogens, predators, fisherman, and all other kinds of stressors,” says Hill.
Today’s hot temperatures may be a grim foreshadowing for the upcoming seasons.
“As the climate changes, we can expect more extremes as we move into the future,” says Bobby Sekhon, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.
“In the face of climate change in these drought conditions, we just need to protect fresh water flows,” says Hill.
“We need citizens to stand up and let government know that this is important to them and we need action.”
The Rivers Forecast Centre says if the trend of dry and hot weather continues, water levels will be at critical stages as soon as July.