Nearly $600K earmarked for salmon conservation projects on Vancouver Island

Nearly $600K earmarked for salmon conservation projects on Vancouver Island
A’tlegay Fisheries Society
A diver plants eelgrass in the Mill Pond area of the Campbell River Estuary

The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) has promised nearly $600,000 to help support salmon stewardship projects on Vancouver Island.

Some of the larger grants include a combined $109,300 for several projects being carried out by the Peninsula Streams Society, based out of North Saanich, for education and habitat rehabilitation in areas like the Colquitz River and Millstream Creek.

Another big ticket item is the Loughborough Inlet Enhancement Assessment project that’s being carried out by the Wei Wai Kum First Nation near Campbell River, which received more than $64,500 from the PSF.

Meanwhile, the Discovery Coast Greenways Land Trust $50,000 for habitat assessments in the Campbell River area and will also be working with the Wei Wai Kum First Nation on planting eelgrass around Mill Pond.

The two groups have been working tougher since 2019 to rebuild an eelgrass meadow in the estuary, which serves as a habitat for juvenile chum and Chinook salmon.

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Team members sort eelgrass bundles to support salmon habitat restoration (Greenways Land Trust)

Funding from the PSF this year will help create more than 1,000 square metres of eelgrass meadow in the estuary, with a goal of planting a total of 6,000 metres by 2025.

“The Mill Pond Project Team is excited to be able to expand our eelgrass meadow planting within the Campbell River Estuary,” says Katharine Lavoie, executive director at Greenways Land Trust in a statement on May 16.

“This work will drastically improve previously degraded habitat so that it can be viable for juvenile salmonids in future.”

Island cities join Wild Salmon Day

Saturday, June 1, marks Wild Salmon Day, which three cities on Vancouver Island recently joined.

Victoria, Nanaimo and Port Alberni all declared June 1 as Wild Salmon Day, which is a commitment to protecting and celebrating Pacific salmon and their habitats.

The three Island cities join five other B.C. cities, as well as the B.C. and Yukon provincial governments, in marking Wild Salmon Day.

In total, the PSF handed out $584,739 in funding for projects on Vancouver Island this year, as part of $1.4 million across B.C. and the Yukon.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation gets most of its funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s salmon conservation stamps, which anglers are required to purchase with a saltwater fishing licence.

“Demand for local stewardship is at an all-time high, and salmon need us now more than ever,” said Michael Meneer, president and CEO of the PSF in a statement.

“I strongly encourage you to support the Community Salmon Program to ensure that hundreds of streamkeepers, First Nations groups, and community volunteers have the funds they need to advance their vital salmon restoration and habitat recovery efforts,” he said.

A full list of the 113 funding recipients can be found on the PSF website.

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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