In spring of 2022, the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s (PSF’s) Community Salmon Program distributed more than $1.1 million in funding to 116 community-led salmon conservation, enhancement, and habitat restoration projects across British Columbia. Combined, this consortium of projects represents $5.9 million in total value of salmon stewardship work.
The Community Salmon Program (CSP), launched in 1989, empowers volunteers, local streamkeepers, Indigenous communities, and schools to take action to conserve and rehabilitate Pacific salmon and their habitats. Successful projects have included salmon habitat restoration, aquatic monitoring and research, emergency flood rescue initiatives, conservation hatchery operations, educational programming and outreach, and citizen science initiatives.
One successful project funded by the Community Salmon Program is the restoration of Still Creek, which flows across Central Burnaby.
Still Creek, part of the Brunette River watershed, is one of the last remaining salmon-bearing creeks in Vancouver.
Salmon disappeared from the creek for 80 years, largely attributed to industrialization and urbanization throughout the 20th century. As a result, 90 per cent of the stream went underground.
However, in 2012, chum salmon returned to the creek for the first time since 1932 thanks to collaborative efforts by streamkeepers, biologists, and community volunteers to restore the stream and its inhabitants. Hundreds of salmon successfully spawned in Still Creek between 2012 and 2016!
Since 2016, salmon returns to Still Creek have been poor, yet volunteers, streamkeepers, and biologists continue their vital restoration efforts.
Thanks in part to funding from the Community Salmon Program, the Still Moon Arts Society led 13 hands-on restoration events at Still Creek in 2021, including invasive species removals, native vegetation plantings, and garbage removal clean-up events. The Society, which has catalyzed a network of more than 400 volunteers to support salmon habitat at Still Creek, also installed eight informational signs near the stream to advance community awareness about local salmon habitat.
Earlier this year, Still Creek streamkeepers released 5,000 juvenile chum salmon into the stream in hopes of building up the natural population.
“Slowly but surely, this stream has been coming back to life,” said Mark Angelo, Chair Emeritus, Rivers Institute at BCIT.
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“The Community Salmon Program has been at the core of the Pacific Salmon Foundation since the beginning,” says Michael Meneer, CEO and President, Pacific Salmon Foundation.
“We depend upon the grassroots work of passionate people for salmon. Community members are essential in leading the way and protecting endangered salmon stocks. Historically low salmon runs in recent years — coupled with climate change — means that salmon populations, many of which are in decline, need our help now more than ever. We are incredibly thankful to the people for salmon who leverage Community Salmon Program funds to uplift their grassroots conservation efforts.”
The Community Salmon Program accepts new applications each spring and fall. It is primarily supported by the federal Salmon Conservation Stamp, a decal which anglers purchase with their fishing licence. All generated proceeds support PSF’s salmon restoration, stewardship, education, and enhancement efforts.
The next funding application cycle for the Community Salmon Program opens on September 1 and will close October 15. Click here for the latest updates.
See below to learn about two community-led projects currently receiving CSP funding.
CSP dollars in action
Visualizing a resilient Fraser Watershed
The Fraser River, the longest river in B.C., is an integral part of a complex and vibrant ecosystem that supports more than 60 fish species— including Pacific salmon. In recent years, salmon returns to the Fraser Watershed have reached remarkable lows. Historically, 50 million sockeye salmon returned to the Fraser River annually, but in 2020, only 288,000 returned.
Canada has pledged to protect 30 per cent of land and seas by 2030 to prevent “catastrophic biodiversity loss.” Currently, 17 per cent of the Fraser Watershed is protected. The Rivershed Society of BC is developing a visualization tool that will identify another 13 per cent that can be protected to achieve the goal of protecting 30 per cent of the Fraser Watershed by 2030.
Rivershed will collaborate with others across the watershed to develop a tool that demonstrates a coordinated vision of protection and restoration projects across the Fraser Watershed. This tool will be used to elevate and support regional campaigns and encourage public support and capital investments.
Building a fishway in Jacobsen Creek
Jacobsen Creek, a tributary to the Little Campbell/Tatalu River in South Surrey, could provide excellent streamside habitat and cover for spawning and rearing salmonids, but is currently inaccessible to fish due to a perched culvert with an impassable one-metre drop. Streamkeepers have observed Chinook and coho attempting to jump into the culvert to reach the stream but not being able to reach the full distance.
With CSP funding, non-profit A Rocha Canada will build a fishway to enable coho, Chinook, and chum salmon, and cutthroat and steelhead trout to access nearly four kilometres of intact spawning and rearing habitat that is currently disconnected. Additionally, the project will enhance 40 metres of suitable spawning and rearing habitat by planting native plants and removing invasive vegetation.
With new industrial developments recently approved near the salmon-bearing Little Campbell River, this project is crucial to support local salmon populations.
Donations can be made online. The Community Salmon Program also benefits from corporations with sustainability goals. Trans Mountain, Mosaic Forest Management, BC Hydro, Methanex, Seaspan, Paper Excellence, Secure Energy, Neptune Terminals, ENCORP PACIFIC, Sutherland Foundation Inc., and Pembina Pipeline are all corporate supporters of the Program. Interested businesses can contact PSF’s Senior Business Development Manager Cory Matheson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A full list of recipients for the spring 2022 Community Salmon Program funding cohort includes:
|Applicant||Project Title||Funding confirmed $||Project Value $|
|A Rocha||Jacobsen Creek Salmon Passage Enhancement||57,989||230,000|
|A Rocha||Upper Bulkley River Salmon Rearing Habitat Assessment||3,745||30,005|
|Agassiz Christian School||Salmonids in the Classroom||232||1,932|
|AJ McLellan Elementary School||Salmonids in the Classroom||600||2,100|
|Alexander Elementary School||Salmonids in the Classroom||475||2,375|
|Alouette River Management Society||ALLCO Fish Hatchery Egg and Alevin Care||2,500||5,441|
|Alouette River Management Society||Morse Creek Restoration||5,508||60,201|
|Baker Creek Enhancement Society||Ocean Tank Refreshment – Scout Island Nature Centre||3,960||24,880|
|BC Conservation Foundation||Bonaparte River Habitat Restoration Project||55,096||256,708|
|BC Conservation Foundation||Englishman River Claybank Assessment and Mitigation||8,172||67,859|
|BC Conservation Foundation||Guichon Creek Habitat Restoration Project||29,474||424,915|
|BC Conservation Foundation||Louis Creek Habitat Restoration Project||19,898||288,543|
|BC Conservation Foundation||Louis Creek TRU Study Habitat Restoration Project||35,585||278,482|
|Beach Grove Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,720|
|Boundary Elementary||Stream of Dreams at Boundary Elementary||4,242||13,820|
|Bridge River Indian Band||Development of a salmonid outmigrant program to inform population rebuilding in the Middle Fraser River||9,300||29,300|
|Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society||Birkdale Farm Enhancement Project 2022||20,853||47,020|
|Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society||Brooklyn Creek Fish Ladder Repairs and Riparian Enhancements 2022||20,827||49,931|
|Canada Wild Arts Society||Uninterrupted-VR at the Adams||6,000||14,725|
|Carnarvon Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||280||580|
|Cat Stream Stewards||Pine Street Riparian Restoration project||2,497||6,887|
|Central Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||280||580|
|Central Westcoast Forest Society||Atleo River Restoration Project||28,350||155,900|
|Cheakamus Foundation for Environmental Learning||Cheakamus Teaching Hatchery Upgrades||18,000||40,000|
|Chicago Creek Community Environmental Enhancement Society||Mission Creek Fish Fence Construction and Installation Project||62,950||130,480|
|Chilliwack River Valley Resident’s Association||Wingfield Creek Habitat Restoration 2022||1,900||5,000|
|Cougar Creek Streamkeepers||Water Quality Long Term Monitoring||2,100||6,200|
|Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre Society||Engaging Youth in Riparian Restoration to Support Salmon in the Cowichan||2,500||34,200|
|Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society||Nixon Creek Log Jam Removal||5,000||39,048|
|Dasmesh Punjabi School||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,420|
|Discovery Passage Aquarium Society||Campbell River Shoreline Cleanup Project||2,459||9,593|
|Dr. Thomas A Swift Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,570|
|Dufferin Elementary||Stream of Dreams at Dufferin Elementary||3,850||11,057|
|Ecole Anne-Hebert||Salmonids in the Classroom||280||580|
|Ecole Gabrielle-Roy||Stream of Dreams at Ecole Gabrielle-Roy Elementary||4,287||13,853|
|Ecole Lloyd George Elementary||Stream of Dreams at Ecole Llyod George Elementary||5,745||20,658|
|Ecole Norval-Morrisseau||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,550|
|Elsie Roy School||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,450|
|ESR Elementary School||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,720|
|Fraser Basin Council Society||Horsefly Watershed Salmon Habitat Restoration||84,748||259,096|
|Galiano Conservancy Association||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,800||10,200|
|General Gordon Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||280||580|
|General Wolfe Elementary School||Salmonids in the Classroom||500||2,400|
|Gitanyow Fisheries Authority||Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Facility Trap Box Improvements||11,250||45,900|
|Greendale Elementary Community School||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,550|
|Hastings Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,570|
|Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department||Quantifying survival and harvest rates for wild Central Coast coho||31,804||417,838|
|Homalco First Nation||Homalco-Taggares Hatchery Groundwater Supply||26,795||103,772|
|Horsefly River Roundtable||Horsefly Salmon Viewing||1,400||4,800|
|Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society||Gravel Restoration||2,500||5,375|
|Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society||Conservation Through Education||6,725||106,875|
|Lakelse Watershed Stewards Society||Watershed Water Quality Sampling||2,500||17,514|
|Little River Enhancement Society||Counting Fence Relocation & Improvements||7,928||19,579|
|Lord Nelson Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,550|
|Lord Roberts Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,550|
|Lord Selkirk Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||280||580|
|Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance||Kw’atset te sthe’qi – Corbold Creek South Floodplain Restoration – Phase 2||54,000||191,400|
|Mainland Enhancement of Salmonoid Species Society||Stream Survey and Enumeration||2,500||15,600|
|Margaret Stenerson Elementary School||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,550|
|Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society||Restoration, Conservation & Protection of Englishman River Riparian Habitat||20,714||70,455|
|Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society||Shelly Creek Coho Smolt Rearing Habitat Restoration – Phase 3||15,368||34,570|
|Millard Piercy Watershed Stewards||Piercy Creek Trib 1 Habitat Restoration Project||48,983||109,935|
|Millard Piercy Watershed Stewards||Tributary 1 of Piercy Creek Streamside Vegetation Improvement||1,302||3,842|
|Moberley Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||280||580|
|Mount Slesse Middle School||MSMS Testing Equipment||2,371||7,721|
|Mountain Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,510|
|Mt Lehman Elementary SD 34||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,650|
|NatureKids BC||NatureKids BC Salmon Toolkit for Families & Educators||6,000||13,000|
|Nechako Valley Secondary School||Aerial Stream Habitat Assessment & Education||2,349||10,498|
|Nelson Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||280||580|
|Nootka Elementary School||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,570|
|Northridge Elementary||Stream of Dreams at Northridge Elementary||3,103||10,068|
|Oona River Resources Association Associaion||Improvement to Hatchery Water System||1,840||5,620|
|Pacific Parklands Foundation||Kanaka Creek Fish Fence Bank Remediation||20,000||64,478|
|Pear Tree Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||600||280|
|Peninsula Streams Society||Beach Education and Conservation of Habitat (BEACH)||4,000||113,000|
|Peninsula Streams Society||Colquitz Mainstem Restoration Project (Phase 3)||24,300||114,100|
|Peninsula Streams Society||Millstream Creek Restoration and Stewardship||24,750||78,300|
|Peninsula Streams Society||Portage Inlet Shoreline Restoration||11,700||66,200|
|Peninsula Streams Society||Water Quality Monitoring and Stewardship Program||9,900||60,000|
|Powell River Salmon Society||Improving Accessibity to the Alex Dobler Salmon Centre||10,830||72,470|
|Quadra Island Salmon Enhancement Society||Stream Drought Proofing Quadra Island||6,818||19,475|
|Rivershed Society of BC||A Visualization Tool for a Resilient Fraser Watershed||25,000||440,000|
|Salmon Coast Field Station Society||Sea Lice Monitoring Training Workshop||2,500||39,760|
|Sandy Hill Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,650|
|Sargeant Bay Society||Fish Ladder Replacement||18,000||84,000|
|Serpentine Enhancement Society||Tynehead Hatchery Winter 2022 Project Funding||9,945||19,080|
|Seymour Salmonid Society||Hatchery Infrastructure & Equipment Project||12,015||26,990|
|Silvern Trail Society||Toboggan Creek Trail Rehabilitation||4,505||29,020|
|Simon Cunningham Elementary||Stream of Dreams at Simon Cunningham Elementary||6,553||21,308|
|Sir Alexander Mackenzie School||Boardwalk Restoration and Habitat protection||10,000||45,800|
|SkeenaWild Conservation Trust||SkeenaWild Adopt-a-Stream Program||2,500||13,392|
|Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society||Somenos Creek Water Quality Monitoring||2,500||6,450|
|Squamish River Watershed Society||Salmon Heroes Outreach Program||2,500||27,500|
|St’át’imc Government Services||Hatchery Rearing Tanks||13,905||31,950|
|St’at’imc Government Services||Horseshoe Bend Coho Off-channel Habitat||37,350||199,000|
|Stoney Creek Community School||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,150|
|Sunshine Coast Salmonid Enhancement Society||Hatchery Upgrade 2022||18,500||40,000|
|Sunshine Coast Salmonid Enhancement Society||Net Project||1,200||2,450|
|Sunshine Coast Streamkeepers Society||Restoration of Creek’s Riparian Zones with Native Plants||1,200||2,400|
|Sunshine Hills Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,550|
|Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary||Stream Assessment & Stewardship||2,500||6,230|
|Tahsis Salmon Enhancement Society||Emergency Fuel Supply Tank||1,870||12,450|
|Thornton Creek Enhancement Society||Streamkeepers Program Support||2,400||4,900|
|Toboggan Creek Salmon & Steelhead Enhancement Society||Toboggan Creek – Johnson Farm Creek Restoration||16,200||37,030|
|Toboggan Creek Salmon & Steelhead Enhancement Society||Toboggan Creek Field Trip Funding||2,200||4,840|
|Tsolum River Restoration Society||Portuguese Creek Instream Rearing Pond Enhancement||7,690||18,845|
|Tyee Elementary||Salmonids in the Classroom||280||580|
|UNBC||Using environmental DNA (eDNA) to assess the distribution of juvenile salmonids in the Nechako Basin, Phase 3||29,880||139,020|
|Vancouver Christian School||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,470|
|Vancouver Christian School||Salmonids in the Classroom||1,650||3,470|
|Walley Creek Streamkeepers||Walley Creek In-Stream Restoration Reach 2||26,100||75,970|
|WaterWealth Project Society||Chilliwack Vedder Watershed Water Monitoring Program||1,021||12,941|
|West Vancouver Streamkeeeper Society||Nelson Creek Fish Ladder Repair||6,454||33,300|
|Williams Lake Field Naturalists||Stream of Dreams at Scout Island Nature Centre||2,500||33,550|
|World Fisheries Trust||Craigflower Creek riparian restoration and water monitoring||7,700||77,724|