Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia make a significant investment in salmon research and restoration projects
VANCOUVER, BC, April 22, 2022 /CNW/ – The regeneration of wild Pacific salmon populations is fundamental to rebuilding a healthy ocean ecosystem. Wild Pacific salmon are also vitally important for food and cultural purposes, of many Indigenous communities throughout British Columbia. This is why protecting wild salmon stocks and their habitat is a priority for both the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Joyce Murray and Fin Donnelly, BC’s Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture on behalf of the BC Minister of Land, Water, and Resource Stewardship, the Honourable Josie Osborne, announced $30.5 million in funding for 22 projects under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF).
Today’s investment supports monitoring, research and planning processes that will enhance our understanding of the critical factors affecting local salmon populations. The results will help inform future management decisions as we work to restore and rebuild key salmon habitats throughout the province. Of the 22 projects, 18 will be led by or conducted in partnership with Indigenous organizations and communities across British Columbia.
A few notable projects announced today include:
- the Chemainus/Koksilah Twinned Watershed Salmon Sustainability Project, which aims to record and assess the status, abundance, and preferred habitat of various salmon species in the Chemainus and Koksilah rivers and then use that data to monitor demonstration restoration initiatives addressing low flow impacts on critical anadromous salmonid habitats in those watersheds.
- the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s project to expand and improve the use of the Pacific Salmon Explorer, an interactive data visualization tool that tracks and reports information on the status of fish Conservation Units and their freshwater habitats in BC.
- The next stage of Makeway Charitable Society’s Resilient Waters initiative, which will restore connections to salmon habitat to the Lower Fraser River that have long been broken by flood control infrastructure; and
- the First Nations Fisheries Legacy Fund Society’s project to enhance capacity for monitoring and managing wild salmon habitat in First Nations by integrating community mapping and geospatial technologies.
BCSRIF funding is open to Indigenous communities, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations, commercial enterprises, and academic institutions. Investments through this program will help recover salmon habitat, benefit commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture, as well as support science and research initiatives. Further information on the application process, timelines and program criteria are available on the BCSRIF website: www.bcsrif.ca
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect and rebuild wild Pacific salmon stocks. BCSRIF harnesses British Columbians’ shared passion and commitment to finding innovative ways to regenerate wild salmon abundance and the fisheries they support. Our government is committed to making the needed investments in programs that work to help salmon populations grow and thrive. We aim to build the foundation for a sustainable future.
The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard
“It’s increasingly important that we use innovation, infrastructure and science partnerships to help protect and restore priority wild B.C. fish populations inland and on the coast. BCSRIF is one of our prime federal-provincial tools that enables such partnerships with strong funding support. These 22 new BCSRIF projects will be models that teach us inspire many more. We’re committed to keep working to support wild fish and fisheries and the British Columbians who make their living from them.”
The Honourable Josie Osborne, BC Minister of Water, Land, and Resource Stewardship
“Congratulations to the latest project recipients and thank you for your commitment in helping conserve, protect and restore salmon and steelhead populations. These diverse BCSRIF projects vary in location, scale and proponents; together, they all contribute to protecting and restoring wild fisheries, creating a more sustainable future for local communities and workers.”
Fin Donnelly, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Government of British Columbia
- Launched in March 2019, the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund has made investments in support of habitat protection and restoration, ensuring the fish and seafood sector in British Columbia is positioned for long-term environmental and economic sustainability.
- Eighty three projects have received BCSRIF funding since its inception in 2019, representing an investment of more than $116 million in the rebuilding of wild Pacific salmon stocks and supporting the BC fish and seafood sector.
- Additional information on projects selected for BCSRIF funding can be found online here.
- The BCSRIF is a 70 per cent federal, 30 per cent provincial cost-shared program.
- The Government of Canada initially invested $100 million over five years to the BCSRIF, to support projects focused on habitat protection and restoration, including the maintenance of healthy and diverse salmon populations. Budget 2021 committed an additional investment of $100 million to expand the program. The Government of British Columbia’s current investment is $42.85 million over five years.
- BCSRIF funding is open to applications from Indigenous communities, commercial organizations in the wild fisheries and aquaculture sectors, recreational fisheries, as well as non-commercial organizations such as universities and research institutions, industry associations, and conservation groups.
- The Government of Canada’s $647.1-million Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative investment is the largest-ever government investment in efforts to save Pacific salmon. Through this investment, Canada will guide a strategic and coordinated long-term response, rooted in collaborative action, to stabilize and protect Pacific salmon for the ecosystems, people, and communities that depend upon their sustainability.
- Canadian Fish and Seafood Opportunities Fund
- British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund
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Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia make a significant investment in salmon research and restoration projects
Projects eligible for British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF) funding must have an emphasis on one or more of the following three areas:
- Innovation – to encourage the development of new technologies to increase productivity and help meet conservation and sustainability objectives, including the protection and restoration of wild BC stocks, including Pacific salmon;
- Infrastructure – to encourage capital investments in new products, processes or technologies to support the advancement of sustainable fishing practices and to support the protection and restoration of wild BC stocks, including Pacific salmon; and
- Science partnerships – to support collaborations with academia and other research institutions to improve our knowledge and understanding of impacts to wild stocks and to develop sustainable fishing practices.
Twenty-two projects are being funded under BCSRIF:
- The MakeWay Charitable Society will receive $2.7 million to continue Phase 2 of MakeWay’s Resilient Waters initiative. Building on earlier work, funded by BCSRIF, the project will restore connections to wild salmon habitat which has, historically, been alienated by flood control infrastructure installed adjacent to the Lower Fraser River, between Richmond and Hope, BC. Working with cross-sector partnerships, this project will implement fish-friendly flood control solutions while advancing research and best practices for fish-friendly flood practices.
- The Yucwmenlúcwu (Caretakers of the Land) will receive $208,289 to support a holistic approach to managing and restoring ecological flows in the Salmon River watershed. Through the application of Indigenous Knowledge and science-based data, the project will promote a healthier watershed and an increase in local salmonid populations.
- The First Nations Fisheries Legacy Fund Society will receive $2.5 million to enhance capacity for monitoring and managing wild salmon habitat in First Nations, by integrating community mapping with geospatial technologies. The First Nations Fisheries Legacy Fund Society, along with the University of Victoria, will inventory baseline data, local fish habitat knowledge and geospatial technologies available to each First Nation for undertaking longer-term salmon habitat monitoring. The results will inform long-term water and salmon stewardship planning processes as well as provide valuable information on watershed dynamics and trends that are critical to wild salmon populations.
- Cowichan Tribes will receive $1.2 million to support and leverage the development of a salmon-relevant Water Sustainability Plan in the Chemainus and Koksilah Watershed. The plan will provide a critical link between First Nations rights and title, federally managed anadromous salmon stocks and provincially managed land use. The plan will also provide a roadmap for other regions of British Columbia where similar work is needed.
- The Pacific Salmon Foundation will receive $3.8 million to support the expansion, improvement and application of the Pacific Salmon Explorer, an interactive data visualization tool for tracking and reporting information on the status of Pacific salmon Conservation Units and their freshwater habitats in British Columbia. Conservation Units are groupings of salmon at the stock level that share common genetic traits, geographic distribution and life history, for the purposes of identifying challenges to survival and potential conservation strategies. The project will result in more timely, credible and standardized information on the status of salmon and their habitats. This information will be critical to inform science-based decision for salmon conservation and management.
- The Pacific Salmon Foundation will also receive $308,000 as part of an extension of the high seas surveys conducted through the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. The project will assess the factors that affect survivability of key salmon stocks. Funding will support a multi-vessel survey to study the distribution of Pacific salmon across the North Pacific Ocean, which build on two research expeditions to the Gulf of Alaska that were undertaken through the International Year of the Salmon initiative. PSF will also undertake sampling with Japanese drift gillnets and longlines to conduct a direct comparison of the sampling capabilities of trawl nets versus other gear in a deep water environment.
- The North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society will receive $2.3 million to inform and engage in the collaborative development of a monitoring, assessment and management plan for the Skeena Estuary. This project will ensure the protection and restoration of key fish habitats, with a focus on salmon, to ensure a sustainable First Nations fishery. The project will use a phased, multi-year approach to develop a Skeena Estuary Habitat Management and Protection Plan and implement prioritized estuarine habitat restoration projects.
- The Kitsumkalum Indian Band will receive $175,032 to identify, prioritize and develop solutions to sites within the Skeena watershed in order to maximize survival of local Pacific salmon populations. Solutions include introducing fish passage to high quality rearing habitat and the infilling of unsuitable areas in order to prevent juvenile salmonids from entering areas where they become trapped.
- The University of Victoria will receive $512,458 to study the causes of vateritic otolith; a condition where ear bones have crystalized, resulting in hearing loss; in hatchery-reared Strait of Georgia coho salmon. The study will investigate the consequences for survival and, in turn, population recovery.
- The Central West Coast Forest Society will receive $500,000 to restore critical spawning and rearing habitat in Clayoquot Sound for high-conservation concern wild Chinook salmon. The Central West Coast Forest Society will engage with biologists and engineers from BC, Oregon and Washington State to use innovative ecological engineering technology to restore fish habitat and revitalize drastically declining stocks.
- The Kitselas First Nation and partners will receive $561,335 to develop a prioritized enhancement and restoration plan for Kleanza Creek. The project’s objective is the restoration of structural and functional connectivity of salmon habitat that has previously been destroyed.
- Ducks Unlimited Canada will receive $5 million to implement three large-scale projects to restore key Fraser River estuary tidal marsh habitats and access for salmon and other wild BC fish stocks. The projects will aim to reverse the effects of human-caused impacts to the Fraser River estuary, which, combined with the anticipated future effects of sea-level rise, severely impair ecological resilience and wild BC salmon survival. These projects include: tidal marsh restoration within the Alaksen National Wildlife Area; creating breaches in the North Arm Jetty to restore migration pathways for juvenile salmon and other fish species; and depositing sediment onto upper intertidal area of Sturgeon Bank as an experimental mechanism to restore coastal areas experiencing tidal marsh recession.
- The Wuikinuxv Nation will receive $543,374 to build the fisheries expertise and operational capacity within the Wuikinuxv Nation Stewardship Office. Three key activities will be performed with this funding. First, an assessment of the productivity of Owikeno Lake and its carrying capacity for juvenile sockeye salmon will be conducted. Additionally, funding will allow the Wuikinuxv Nation to acquire the sonar equipment needed to count adult salmon returns to the Waanukv River. Finally, funding will increase capacity in relation to procedures and operation of equipment needed to support local salmon projects.
- The Great Bear Initiative Society will receive $2.8 million to upgrade infrastructure at six community hatcheries to incorporate additional sustainability technology and enable restoration of wild BC populations of concern. Key infrastructure upgrades include repair, replacement or acquisition of additional incubation, rearing spaces or equipment storage areas, electrical upgrades and improvements to water supply.
- The Nootka Sound Watershed Society will receive $324,953 to use a spatial modelling tool and the resulting threats assessment to develop an action plan to improve and monitor habitat for steelhead and other Pacific salmon species. The Nootka Sound Watershed Society will also identify prioritized sites for restoration and develop a comprehensive strategic plan of prioritized future restoration opportunities.
- The British Columbia Centre of Aquaculture Health Sciences Society will receive $306,000 to validate nanopore technology as a rapid and broad-range tool for detecting salmon pathogens from biological and environmental samples received from hatcheries. The technology will be applied to screen broodstock, examine pathogen sources and their distribution in hatchery systems, and identify and characterize the agent(s) associated with disease occurrences.
- The Skeetchestn First Nation will receive $385,000 to carry out critical infrastructure upgrades to modernize hatchery operations to allow the hatchery to raise all life stages of coho salmon on-site. Infrastructure improvements will include upgrades to water production by installing a production well, backup generators, pump controls and an aeration tower.
- The Office of Wet-suwet-en will receive $848,160 to initiate a recovery research program to restore the abundance and diversity of the Morice Sockeye population. The information gathered through the project will address current questions related to sockeye survival, sources of mortality at various life stages, spawning habitat conditions and direction for restoration/protection of critical habitat.
- The K’ómoks First Nation will receive $1.4 million to revert an abandoned industrial site, in the heart of their traditional territory, back into a functional habitat. The former industrial sawmill is situated on the salmon migration corridor for the watersheds of two major rivers, the Puntledge and the Tsolum. The restoration of the site will improve access to Food, Social and Ceremonial uses of salmon, provide increased recreational fishing opportunities and support the recovery of Southern Resident Orca populations.
- The Gitanyow Huwilp Society will receive $950,000 to explore enhancement options for Kitwanga sockeye salmon, in order to rebuild the genetically unique stock and prevent further decline and loss of important genetic diversity.
- The Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance Society will receive $2.7 million to prioritize restoring hydrological function in targeted watersheds in the Central Coast sub-region of BC, develop watershed-scale (or finer scale) habitat assessment approaches, and implement initial restoration activities in priority watersheds as informed by monitoring and traditional/local ecological knowledge.
- The Fraser Salmon Management Council will receive $400,000 to assemble Indigenous and DFO and other agency technical and science experts to share findings and conclusions and make recommendations that support the protection and restoration of Fraser Chinook and other salmon stocks.
SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
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