James Smith Cree Nation says endangered fish spawning grounds impacted by oil plume

UPDATE: Patrick Boyle from the Water Security Agency (WSA) said that test results from August 18 revealed no hydrocarbons in the water, but test results from the foam showed a detectable levels of phenanthrene, a petroleum compound.

"An analysis of the results (will be done) of that detection of those petroleum components in that sample to determine if it actually is related to the Husky oil spill or not. We don't know at that point if it is," Boyle said.

Boyle said that there is no defined timeline on the analysis. More foam and water samples were collected by the WSA on Friday, August 26.

Boyle said specialists have been in contact with the James Smith Cree Nation to discuss their fears surrounding the sturgeon spawning grounds.

"We did get a concern from them yesterday about some dead frogs and concern about the sturgeon. We had somebody yesterday out there working with them on that," Boyle said.


As the Husky Energy oil spill saga rolls on, James Smith Cree Nation is still dealing with the aftermath of the oil plume floating down the Saskatchewan River.

Officials from James Smith said investigations over the weekend revealed contamination in the heart of lake sturgeon spawning grounds. A press release from the First Nation stated water and soil samples were taken from these grounds and sent to be tested for hydrocarbons and point of origin.

Lake sturgeon are an endangered species, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Members of the community met with Husky representatives on Friday to voice their concerns and express frustrations with the situation. The release stated the Cree Nation was told to "wait until Monday," as Husky's representatives were not authorized to make decisions.

The residents of James Smith have not been able to swim, hunt, fish, or gather along the Saskatchewan River by order of chief and council. As of Friday, James Smith Cree Nation had invested in six oil booms, as well as soil and sediment sample testing out of their own budgets.

The Cree Nation stated emails to Husky and provincial government agencies regarding their concerns about the oil plume and the lake sturgeon spawning grounds have not yet been answered. Nation representatives say they are seeking compensation.

According to Mel Duvall from Husky, the company and the Cree Nation have committed to discussing these topics this week.