Project Watershed receives five-year grant from Fisheries and Oceans Canada

$689,000 grant is to increase habitat connectivity for fish

Comox Valley Project Watershed has received a five-year grant from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Coastal Restoration Fund. The purpose of the $689,000 grant is to increase habitat connectivity for migratory fish along more than 120 km of eastern Vancouver Island shoreline, from Oyster River estuary to just south of Nile Creek estuary, at Annie Creek.

Map of the stretch of Vancouver Island that will benefit from the grant.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to make a positive change for salmon habitat,” said Christine Hodgson, project co-ordinator.

The project focuses on mapping and restoration of the marine habitats – eelgrass, salt marsh, and kelp – that have been fragmented or lost due to human activities but play an important role as a migratory corridor and protection from predation for juvenile salmonids and associated feed organisms. The project will include participation from local community groups and will compare historic and present-day distribution of these habitats to assess target areas for restoration.

“The successes we have had with restoration projects in the K’ómoks Estuary involving these three vegetation types has contributed greatly to our success in securing this funding”, said Dan Bowen, technical director for Project Watershed.

An initial meeting with local knowledge experts will be held at the Coast Westerly Hotel, March 2, 1:30-4 p.m. to provide further details about the project and receive feedback on the proposed process. Community organizations or individuals interested in becoming involved in this project are encouraged to attend. RSVP Amy Firth ad.projectwatershed@gmail.com by Feb. 26.

Board chair, Paul Horgen, believes this new five-year initiative nicely complements Project Watershed’s goal to purchase and restore the decommissioned sawmill site, Kus-kus-sum.

To learn more about Project Watershed’s stewardship activities or to make a donation to the sawmill restoration project, visit projectwatershed.ca or call Project Watershed at 250-703-2871.

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