Rapid response for salmon amidst flood and fire threats

The Pacific Salmon Foundation is activating emergency funding to support urgent salmon issues as flood events impact salmon and their habitats.

Unseasonable high temperatures are causing rapid snow melt, leading to high streamflow in regions throughout B.C.  The provincial River Forecast Centre has issued a flood warning in effect in the Skeena Region, including the Skeena River, Bulkley River and surrounding tributaries around Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan Territories, Telkwa, Smithers, Hazelton, Kispiox, and Terrace. This region is home to vital wild Pacific salmon habitat, and flood events risk the survival of out-migrating juvenile salmon.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF), through the Community Salmon Program, has a long history of supporting urgent salmon and habitat issues caused by climate events, such as flooding and drought.

In the days, weeks, and months ahead as floods, fires and droughts are anticipated to impact salmon and their habitats, PSF’s emergency fund is available to assist First Nations and community efforts to save Pacific salmon and activate habitat restoration and remediation work directly impacted by current climate events, such as flood.

“Protecting and restoring valuable salmon habitat in rivers and streams during extreme climate events is a top priority for the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Our goal is to enable a timely and collaborative response from Indigenous, federal, provincial, and local governments, and ENGO partners, to address urgent salmon rescue and habitat restoration,” says Michael Meneer, President & CEO, Pacific Salmon Foundation.

PSF established a fund to address urgent flood response for Pacific salmon following the catastrophic 2021 floods. Over the past year and a half, PSF has supported partners with fish rescue efforts and urgent habitat remediation to reconnect habitats, fix fish passage issues, and help ensure salmon reach ideal spawning habitat.

In November 2021, PSF, Sumas Nation, Sto:lo Nation, and Pearson Ecological rescued stranded coho salmon from flooded agricultural fields in Abbotsford after the historic atmospheric river event.

The PSF emergency fund is focused on time-sensitive emergency response for salmon and their habitats related to extreme climate events, including; urgent salmon rescue/fish salvage, habitat remediation in relation to flood-caused damage.

“Timely response during severe climate events will remain a priority at PSF along with coordinated planning for the future. Salmon conservation and rebuilding in the face of climate change will require a collaborative undertaking that looks at land and water management in conjunction with nature-based, salmon-friendly solutions to keep our communities safe,” adds Meneer.

If you’ve identified an urgent salmon rescue, time-sensitive habitat repair, and/or water quality monitoring need related to a climate event, please contact PSF at: floodresponse@PSF.CA