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Golden Miles of History

White Sturgeon, Bats and Ospreys

A Provincial Heritage

White Sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in North America, attaining lengths in excess of 6 metres and weights of over 600 kilograms. An ancient relic of the Jurassic Age, they can live for over 150 years.

The population of white sturgeon in the lower Fraser River plummeted to near-extinction levels in the early 1900's as a result of intensive, directed commercial fisheries. In 1994, the Province of BC imposed catch-and-release sport fishing regulations, commercial harvest of sturgeon was restricted to zero and local aboriginal fisheries authorities elected voluntary retention moratoriums.

Sturgeon are slow to reproduce; they do not reach sexual maturity until 24-30 years of age and females may only spawn once every 6–11 years. White Sturgeon require large rivers with intact ecosystems that can provide the required habitats and food abundance for survival.

Of the three major remaining world populations of white sturgeon (these being the Sacramento, Columbia and Fraser populations) the Fraser River stock is the only remaining wild population (not enhanced by hatchery activities and not exposed to extensive hydro electric dams, habitat alterations and hydrograph alterations). Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society.
 

Lillooet is Bat Friendly

BATS belong to a successful group of mammals. There are over 1,000 different species of bats world wide. Unlike other mammals, bats are unique in their ability for sustained, flapping flight. Our bats navigate and pursue their food, which is entirely composed of insects in British Columbia, by using an advanced sonar system (echolocation).

Contrary to popular belief bats are not blind. In fact, most bats have excellent vision.

Less that 1% of BC bats carry rabies but it is a concern if one has been in direct contact with a bat. On the other hand, bats are our public health allies in the fight against insect pests. One Little Brown Myotis, our most common bat, can consume up to 650 mosquitoes per hour. This efficiency at capturing insect prey allows some bats to obtain up to half their body weight in a single night's feeding. There are sixteen species of bats in BC, thirteen of which are found in the Lillooet area. Our high diversity is partly attributable to the wealth of habits due to Lillooet's position at the coast-interior transition zone.

Bats are important to us for several reasons including regulating insects that are damaging to crops, and keeping mosquito numbers down (an environmentally friendly pesticide). Furthermore, bats make up a significant component of our local biodiversity and are integral to forest health. Worldwide, bats are the most important predator of nocturnal flying insects.

In 2003 the District of Lillooet with the Lillooet Naturalist Society decided to make the old bridge "bat friendly". Bat houses were installed as part of the restoration project. Funding assistance was provided by Bat Conservation International and the Federation of BC Naturalists. The Lillooet Lions volunteered their time and energy building and installing the houses. If you are watching closely at dusk, by water in the Lillooet area, you may see some of our bats performing their amazing aerial stunts.
 

Old Bridge Osprey Nest

In 2013 volunteers from the Lillooet Naturalist Society installed a web-cam to view the activity in the Osprey nest that is on the Old Bridge. We have enjoyed watching successful nesting and young fledging each season since.

Go to lillooetnaturalistsociety.org to access the website. Osprey, also known as fish eagles, are terrific at hunting and diving for fish for themselves and their young.