Cover photo courtesy of the Morrison Creek Streamkeepers.

Pacific Salmon Foundation contributed more than $1.2 million in grants to 114 grassroots Pacific salmon conservation projects in 66 communities across B.C. this spring. Many of these projects are underway.

PSF’s funding is supporting ongoing Indigenous- and community-led stewardship efforts, including local salmon habitat restoration projects, conservation hatcheries operations, educational programming, and citizen science projects.

“Empowering Indigenous and community stewards to lead at the local level is at the heart of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s work – and it will only become more important in the context of climate change,” says Michael Meneer, Pacific Salmon Foundation President and CEO. “Climate change means unpredictable conditions and pressures for salmon. By equipping communities to lead on local climate action, we can be more responsive and deal with immediate issues like drought and high temperatures. Also, every salmon stream is different. Community stewards are in their watersheds everyday and are ideally positioned to monitor unique changes precipitated by climate change.”

Photos courtesy of the Morrison Creek Streamkeepers.

Arden Creek, a tributary of Morrison Creek in Courtenay supporting Coho salmon, trout, and other fish, recently underwent significant habitat remediation efforts under PSF support. Led by the Morrison Creek Streamkeepers (MCS), the habitat project converted several hundred metres of straight, silty ditch into a healthy, meandering stream with complex substrate material to oxygenate the water and provide much-needed spawning habitat. The group also constructed several hundred metres of new gravel trail set back from the stream to facilitate restoration of lush riparian vegetation. This fall, students from nearby elementary and middle schools will be planting native plants along the banks of the newly-enhanced stream.

Photo courtesy of the Coho Festival (Mackay Creek Hatchery and salmon habitat mural in Heywood Park)

The Coho Festival, run by the Coho Society of the North Shore, is another PSF-supported project happening this month. The 42nd edition of the annual event will run from September 1 to October 1, 2021 and aims to raise funds for community groups working to protect and revitalize North Shore salmon streams and rivers.

This year’s event will include a virtual Coho run/walk, a virtual Coho swim, and new this year: the online Culture Compass Coho Society Salmon Conservation ‘Interpretive Walk.’  For more details, visit their website.

Funding for these projects, among many others, comes from PSF’s Community Salmon Program, which is slated to re-open in early September for new project applications. The program is primarily supported by the federal Conservation Stamp, a venture in which anglers purchase a $6 decal with their fishing licence in order to retain Pacific salmon species caught while fishing in saltwater. All generated proceeds support PSF’s salmon restoration, stewardship, and enhancement efforts.

Unfortunately, due to COVID travel restrictions, PSF predicts a 30-percent decrease in available funds for the next granting year.

“As an avid fisherman, I know first-hand how devastating recent fishing restrictions have been to communities and businesses over the last few years,” says Ed Oldfield, volunteer and president of the Powell River Salmon Society. “As a volunteer, I also know how important Pacific Salmon Foundation support is to community stewardship groups. If Pacific salmon are worth more than $6 to you, I encourage you to purchase that Salmon Stamp even if you can’t go fishing. Or better yet, make a donation to PSF.”

During the review process, approximately half of the project applications typically receive funding. This indicates the demand for more funding and donations from local communities who have the knowledge to lead restoration efforts and willingness to put in the work.

Donations can be made online at psf.ca. The Community Salmon Program also benefits from corporations with sustainability goals. Trans Mountain, Mosaic Forest Management, BC Hydro, Enbridge, Methanex, Seaspan, FortisBC Energy are all corporate supporters of the Program. Interested businesses can contact PSF’s Senior Business Development Manager Cory Matheson at cmatheson@psf.ca.