Ivan Hardwick photo

NW salmon conservation projects picked for funding grant

Gitanyow Fisheries Authority and Skeena Fisheries Commission among seven recipients

Two Indigenous-led salmon conservation projects in the Northwest are among seven new recipients to share in $3 million from the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF).

The fund is a 70 per-cent federal, 30-per cent provincial cost-shared program worth $142.85 million over five years to projects that primarily address and reverse salmon stock declines in B.C.

The Gitanyow Fisheries Authority will receive $867,000 over five years to initiate an enhancement and habitat restoration project aimed at maximizing Kitwanga Sockeye spawner success.

The Skeena Fisheries Commission was granted $400,000 over four years to develop a semi-autonomous salmon enumeration fence to allow for more accurate monitoring of Bear River Watershed Chinook, Coho and Sockeye.

The BCSRIF was established last year to protect and restore priority wild fish stocks, including salmon. The fund favours projects that help restore lost protections for fish and fish habitat, advance science-based fisheries management measures, review concerns regarding predation and implement plans to fight climate change.

Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, and B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham, announced the funding recipients in a joint press release June 15.

Doug Donaldson, B.C.’s Minister of Forests, Lands, natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, whose Stikine riding is near the awarded project areas, issued his own statement praising the BCSRIF.

“Supporting B.C.’s wild salmon is critical, and this investment will help research and enhance populations here in the Northwest,” said Donaldson. “The health of our wild salmon is environmentally, culturally, and economically vital for people in the Northwest, and all around B.C.”

BCSRIF will be accepting new applications for funding from July 15 to September 15, 2020. Funding is open to Indigenous communities, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations, commercial enterprises, and academic institutions.

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