Salmon benefit from conservation grants

A pair of fish-bearing streams in Nanaimo are receiving some upgrades thanks to volunteer efforts and grants from the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

A pair of fish-bearing streams in Nanaimo are receiving some upgrades thanks to volunteer efforts and grants from the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

Island Waters Fly Fishers received $11,543 for a Chase River culvert remediation project.

The group will install baffles in a culvert, slowing the water flow so chum salmon can swim upstream in the Chase River and Cat Stream.

Fish Tech and the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation received $3,445 for habitat enhancements on the Millstone River side channel in Bowen Park.

The project includes creation of coho spawning habitat by laying gravel in the side channel, and the removal of a road culvert the salmon had difficulty accessing and replacing it with a foot bridge.

The grants are part of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s community salmon program. More than $345,000 was granted to 43 project across B.C.

“Volunteers are the unsung heroes of Pacific salmon sustainability,” said foundation president Brian Riddell, in a press release. “Their impact on the environment can be seen throughout the province from salmon hatcheries and stewardship centres to strategically placed rocks, trees and vegetation that protect salmon-bearing streams.”

The grants are made possible in part from the foundation’s annual dinner and auction in Nanaimo, federal conservation stamps on saltwater and commercial fishing licences, contributions from commercial fishermen and private donations.

Since the foundation’s inception in 1989, the community salmon program has awarded $9 million to more than 1,200 projects.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation is an independent, charitable organization created to protect, conserve and rebuild Pacific salmon populations in B.C. and the Yukon.