Lafarge Canada Inc. received Water Act approval from AEP to mine gravel, build an end pit and construct some flood protection and groynes on the Freeman close to where it enters the Athabasca. A local resident appealed the approval on a number of grounds and the Approval is now on appeal to the Environmental Appeals Board. Northern Lights became aware of this Appeal Hearing and from reviewing the documents and talking to those involved could find no evidence that consideration was given to the fact that there are trout species at risk in both rivers that could be affected by the work or even that any input to the Approval was requested from the regional fisheries biologists. The Chapter executive has sent the attached letter to the EAB.
In exploring this issue we learned that there is very limited information on the Arctic Grayling and Athabasca Rainbow populations in the Freeman. Because of our work on the upper Pembina we have been asked if we might be interested in doing some similar work on the Freeman - reporting on location and fork length of fish caught, test angling, maybe temperature measurement, fish tagging etc - sometime in the next couple of years. Will put this on a meeting agenda when we get more detail to determine if we have the time and interest.