Fisheries & Wildlife Management
Fish are integral to the Lil’wat way of life, both as an essential food source and as a fundamental element of spiritual and ceremonial practices. The Lil’wat people utilize salmon species such as sockeye, Chinook, Coho and to a lesser degree chum. The Birkenhead River, which flows through the community and drains into Lillooet Lake, is an important spawning ground for this late run Lower Fraser River sockeye stock. Other fish species that are common to the area include Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, bull trout, steelhead, bullhead, suckers and others. Community members can be seen fishing any time of the year on the rivers and streams that flow through the community. The Band’s Land and Resources Department has a fisheries division, which is dedicated to the assessment of the salmon stocks throughout the watersheds of the area.
Land development and land use activities can greatly affect the habitat of the watershed. The staff is very involved in stream stewardship, restoration and education efforts to increase the level of awareness and involvement in protecting this very valuable resource.
Wildlife of the Mount Currie community and surrounding area is quite diverse and plays an important role in sustaining the Lil’wat culture. Deer, black and grizzly bear, moose, bobcats, cougars, raccoons, beaver and other species are known to inhabit the area. Amphibians such as turtles and frogs, included the endangered tailed frog, are known to inhabit the area. The wildlife provides a year –round source of food. Maintaining wildlife habitat is important to supporting healthy wildlife populations. Birds are also an important source of legend, myth and a part of the diet (LLUP, 2006).
Birds such as geese and grouse are hunted for food, while quills of porcupine and feathers of owls and eagles are collected for ceremonial purposes. Monitoring the wildlife populations and their habitat is important to the protection and long-term health of this valuable resource.