Salmon foundation helps stewardship groups to help salmon

Six volunteer stewardship groups in and near the Comox Valley received grants from the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

Six volunteer stewardship groups in and near the Comox Valley received grants through the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s spring funding round to help restore and regenerate Pacific salmon populations and habitat.

Funds were raised in part through the Foundation’s annual Comox Valley gala dinner, dance and auction. The next dinner will be held Sept. 22 at the Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay.

The annual dinner has helped local businesses and salmon-lovers invest more than $1 million to 110 projects in their local streams.

Investors Group, a local Canadian financial services company, provided a donation of $1,000 to this year’s dinner. Kelly Rusk and Duane Gee of the Comox branch and Ken Derksen of the Courtenay branch have been longstanding supporters of Pacific Salmon Foundation fundraising events.

Derksen, a volunteer with the Brooklyn Creek Watershed Society, knows firsthand how important funding is for local salmon conservation efforts. “The funding we receive allows us to undertake large-scale projects that would not be feasible otherwise,” he says.

Derksen’s group received $20,000 to enhance and restore degraded fish habitat. The Society will build a channel adjacent to the river’s main course to provide more space for growing young coho salmon.

These types of channels slow water down and provide conditions that are more favourable for spawning. The group will also remove non-native plants that degrade salmon spawning habitat.

• The Little River Enhancement Society received $13,000 to replace molding wall panels in the group’s hatchery and to purchase an aeration box to increase oxygen availability for eggs and growing salmon.

• The Tsolum River Restoration Society received $4,500 to relocate young salmon that become stranded in dried-up streams. The project will also build four deep pools to house young salmon during periods of low water flow.

• The Nile Creek Enhancement Society received $15,000 to build a pool at the mouth of a railway culvert connecting spawning grounds. The pool will ease fish passage by reducing the distance fish have to jump to access the culvert.

• The Fanny Bay Salmonid Enhancement Society received $1,500 to purchase new hatchery equipment for incubation, raising young fish and selecting mature fish for reproduction. The funds will also help implement a spawning program.

• The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society received $800 for an event in Courtenay to raise awareness of the health of the Courtenay River estuary. The estuary supports 145 different bird species, 29 species of fish and countless other plants and animals.

The Comox Valley gala dinner, dance and auction Sept. 22 will celebrate the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s 25th anniversary and  feature exciting auctions and raffles, a seafood appetizer bar and music and dancing. Tickets are available at Gone Fishin’ (2720 Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay).

For more information or to offer your support as a donor or volunteer, call Judy Ackinclose at 250-335-0010.

— Pacific Salmon Foundation

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