Seven habitat and restoration projects will get $3 million over five years under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF). (DFO)

Government pledges $3M to improve salmon stocks, restoration in B.C.

Seven projects will get $3M under joint federal/provincial program to reverse declines

Restoring wild salmon stocks and improving habitat across B.C. are the focus of new projects jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments.

Funding for seven projects will total $3 million over five years under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF), according to a release by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, and B.C. Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham.

In the wake of the Big Bar landslide last year which decimated early salmon runs in the upper Fraser watersheds, habitat work, infrastructure, and hatchery enhancement will increasingly be looked at for solutions.

READ MORE: Almost a complete loss of early salmon runs at Big Bar slide

“Helping B.C.’s wild salmon population recover is a monumental task, but the commitment and partnership among First Nations, scientists, governments, and people who care about these iconic fish is unwavering,” Minister Jordan said.

“These projects will help salmon get upstream to reach their spawning grounds, provide us with new information about their habits and populations, and contribute to our on-going efforts to have healthy salmon populations in the Pacific.”

Both levels of government are working on projects to address and reverse salmon stocks declines, and emergency conservation enhancement measures, like intensified hatchery work, will be considered.

These new projects are also expected to help B.C.’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

The next round of funding applications for BCSRIF will be accepted as of July 15. More at www.bcsrif.ca

BCSRIF projects to receive funding in latest round:

• The University of British Columbia (UBC) – $165,000 over two years to conduct research on changing ecosystem facing out-migrating juvenile salmon in the Strait of Georgia. Activities include quantifying key drivers of zooplankton feeding, and how zooplankton abundance and distribution are affected by environmental conditions.

• The Squamish River Watershed Society – $522,000 over three years to restore fish passage and increase productivity in Chinook salmon by reducing obstructions along the Elaho River.

• The Peninsula Stream Society – $300,000 over two years to remove a culvert that is blocking fish passage in Millstream Creek and install a fish ladder and “fish friendly” culvert, allowing resident trout and spawning adult Coho salmon access to over eight kilometres of habitat upstream.

• The Gitanyow Fisheries Authority – $867,000 over five years to initiate an enhancement and habitat restoration project to maximize Kitwanga Sockeye spawner success over the next five years.

• The Pacific Salmon Foundation – $650,000 over two years to conduct winter trawl sample surveys in the Gulf of Alaska to study the abundance, health, and habitat use of Pacific salmonids during winter conditions.

• The Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association – $117,000 over two years to develop a robust Management Procedure to improve the sustainability of the BC Spot Prawn fishery.

• The Skeena Fisheries Commission – $400,000 over four years to develop a semi-autonomous salmon enumeration fence to allow for more accurate monitoring of Bear River Watershed Chinook, Coho and Sockeye.

READ MORE: Habitat restoration at Cheam First Nation


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