The federal and provincial governments marked Earth Day Friday with a new $30.5 million funding announcement for fish habitat restoration, including measurers that not only will improve fish habitat, but will improve flood protection along the Fraser River.
“On Earth Day, the spotlight on B.C. salmon is particularly meaningful because of its connections to the wider eco-system we all belong to,” said Fin Donnelly, parliamentary secretary for B.C.’s minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The new funding will go to 22 projects in B.C. under the joint federal provincial BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund. That fund was established in 2019, with $100 million in federal and $43 million in provincial funding. To date, 80 projects have been funded.
Projects receiving money under the latest funding announcement include initiatives that are aimed at restoring salmon pathways interrupted by flood control infrastructure.
“Historically these structures have cut off wild salmon habitat,” Donnelly said.
One project is the Resilient Waters Initiative led by the Makeway Charitable Society (formerly Tides Canada).
“With additional funding, Makeway will be able to continue implementing fish-friendly flood control solutions in the Lower Fraser," Donnelly said.
Ducks Unlimited will also receive funding for projects to restore tidal marsh habitat.
A number of initiatives receiving funding are First Nations organizations. The First Nations Fisheries Legacy Fund Society’s project, for example, will receive funding to enhance monitoring and managing of wild salmon habitat in First Nations with community mapping and geospatial technology.
“As British Columbians unfortunately know all too well, one of the key environmental challenges facing this province is the state of wild Pacific salmon and other important local fish species,” said Joyce Murray, minister of Fisheries, Oceans.
“Ultimately our goal is to restore and protect these important coastal and marine habitats so our important species – wild salmon, herring, orca and many others return to healthy diversity and abundance and position British Columbia’s fish and seafood sector long-term environmental and economic success.”