Balmy winter weather in B.C. could lead to trouble in the months ahead, if the unseasonably small snow pack doesn't improve and leads to dangerously low water levels.
Snow levels have been so low that six ski resorts in the province have closed, according to the British Columbia Snow Report.
And with Environment Canada forecasting sunshine and temperatures up to 10 C this weekend, it doesn't look like snow conditions will improve anytime soon.
Mark Angelo, who taught in the fish and wildlife program at the B.C. Institute of Technology for 37 years, said he's never seen the snow pack so low — and it could soon lead to lower waters and higher water temperatures.
"You could have increased mortality among resident fish, or among young salmon rearing in creeks like this," Angelo said, speaking on Tuesday at the side of Beaver Creek, which feeds into Burnaby's Deer Lake.
The creek is home to fish such as trout and salmon. Fish throughout the south coast, Vancouver Island and much of the province could be affected by the conditions if they don't improve, said Angelo, who is also the rivers chair for the Outdoor Recreational Council of B.C.
Marilyn Towill, division manager of transmission operations with water services for Metro Vancouver, said that while the snow pack is low there's plenty of water in reservoirs at the moment.
"We are monitoring it," she said of the situation, adding that it's still winter and the snow pack could grow in the mountains.
"At the current time we don't expect there to be any impact on the summer [water] supply," Towill said.