VANCOUVER, May 24, 2018 /CNW/ - The protection and restoration of the environment is a top priority of the Government of Canada, which is providing resources through the Oceans Protection Plan that will make our oceans and coasts safer, cleaner and healthier for the benefit of all Canadians and future generations.
Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced over $9.5 million in funding from the Coastal Restoration Fund to support eight projects across British Columbia. This work will help restore habitat for Chinook salmon, the preferred prey of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale.
In May 2017, the Government of Canada announced the $75-million Coastal Restoration Fund to help rehabilitate some of our most vulnerable coastlines and protect marine life and ecosystems. The Coastal Restoration Fund, under the responsibility of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, supports projects that contribute to coastal restoration on all of Canada's coasts with preference given to projects that are multiyear and involve a broad number of partners, including Indigenous groups.
The Coastal Restoration Fund is part of the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan ─ the largest investment ever made to protect Canada's coasts and waterways. In collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities, the Government of Canada is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coasts and waterways for generations to come.
"Our government is committed to protecting our coasts – that's why we announced the Oceans Protection Plan, which will make our oceans and coasts safer, cleaner and healthier. The $75 million Coastal Restoration Fund provides an opportunity to address threats to our ocean and coastal areas. I am pleased that our collaboration with these organizations will ensure healthy, thriving coastal habitats in British Columbia for future generations."
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
"The Coastal Restoration Fund has given coastal communities surrounding the Salish Sea a wonderful opportunity to deepen its recovery work of marine nearshore habitats for all salmon and the food webs upon which they depend. The work achieved thus far is truly astounding and shows the effects of dedicated long term funding. This kind of commitment from the federal government energizes coastal communities as they work together to make significant, positive differences in their marine waters and on their shores."
Nikki Wright, Executive Director SeaChange Marine Conservation Society
"Project Watershed is very pleased by this opportunity to have five years of consistent funding to be able to plan, prioritize and scale up our nearshore restoration work along 120 kms of shoreline within the Northern Salish Sea."
Paul Horgen, Chair Comox Valley Project Watershed Society
"The North Coast-Skeena Stewardship Society is pleased to have been funded for a five year Coastal Restoration Fund project to restore and rehabilitate salmon habitat in the lower Skeena river and estuary. Since time immemorial, First Nations along the Skeena river have maintained profound cultural and food security relationships to Skeena salmon. Our organization is excited to be able to be managing a project that will eventually enhance First Nation's access to Skeena salmon for food, social and ceremonious purposes as per section 35 of the Canadian Constitution."
Robert Grodecki, Executive Director North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society.
"The Cowichan Mustimuhw have stewarded our watersheds, estuaries and coastal areas for millennia. The commitments made through the Federal Coastal Restoration Fund over a 5-year time frame provide key long-term funds to continue our watershed approach to restoration and re-building with our many government, non-government and industry partners. The CRF projects are focused on restoration of critical habitats for Chinook salmon including in the estuary, riparian areas on the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers, around Cowichan Lake and lake tributaries and maintaining water quality. Restoring abundance of Chinook is an important step to restoring the health of our watershed, our culture and the many other species that depend upon the salmon."
Chief William Seymour (Squtxulenuhw), Cowichan Tribes
"The Maa-nulth Nations are very appreciative of Canada's contribution toward the restoration of coastal habitats within the Maa-nulth Treaty marine waters. We are happy to be playing a leadership role in the revitalization of estuarine habitats for salmon in Barkley Sound and Kyuquot Sound where previous developments have adversely affected these habitats. The project is also allowing our citizens to obtain valuable experience in marine biology and habitat restoration."
Charlie Cootes, President, Maa-nulth Treaty Society
"The goal of this project is to restore a large gravel pit back to high value salmon habitat while conserving known culturally important features. The challenges salmon currently face at this site are stranding and lack of complex habitat. These challenges will be addressed to support migrating Chinook and other salmon as they travel through the Fraser River and off-channel habitats while on route to the Pacific Ocean as part of their life cycle. Biodiversity and wildlife values will be included in the design plans. Restoring a largescale site like this one requires the collaboration and skillsets of a multi-disciplinary team, and we are thankful for our partners! We look forward to building this holistic project that will result in many benefits to salmon, biodiversity and community!"
Natashia Cox, Project Manager, Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition
- Cowichan Tribes will receive $2,677,742 over five years to complete multiple restoration projects in the Cowichan and Koksilah Rivers and restore the connection between their estuaries to improve habitats for Chinook salmon.
- Maa-nulth Treaty Society will receive $1,350,000 over five years to assess watersheds and their estuaries within the Maa-nulth Domestic Fishing Area and restore habitats for Chinook and Chum salmon on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
- SeaChange Marine Conservation Society will receive $1,309,333 over five years to restore eelgrass and estuarine habitat for pacific salmon and forage fish in four target areas: the Gulf Islands, Howe Sounds, Burrard Inlet and Sechelt.
- Comox Valley Project Watershed Society will receive $689,000 over five years to conduct an inventory of coastal habitats and restore nearshore areas to increase habitat connectivity for juvenile salmon.
- Gitga'at First Nation will receive $100,000 over one year to conduct a feasibility study to assess options for the improvement of fish passage that has been impeded by a dam on Princess Royal Island that is obstructing access to salmon habitat.
- North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society will receive $875,000 over five years to carry out habitat restoration projects for Sockeye, Chinook and Chum salmon in the Skeena River.
- The British Columbia Conservation Foundation will receive $1,733,746 over three years for the Orca Sustenance: Thompson River Chinook project. The project will restore habitat at nine key locations on the Thompson River in order to enhance rearing and spawning success of Chinook salmon.
- The Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition will receive $776,524 over four years for a project to help restore coastal habitats, salmon habitat restoration, in the Fraser River of British Columbia.
- The seasonal distribution and movement patterns of Resident Killer Whales are strongly associated with the availability of their preferred prey, Chinook salmon, and secondarily, Chum salmon. During the summer and fall, the principal prey of Southern Resident Killer Whales appears to be Chinook and Chum salmon, and throughout the Salish Sea, Chinook salmon has experienced poor returns in recent years.
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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, 613-990-7537, [email protected]; Vincent Hughes, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister, Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, 613‑992‑3474, [email protected]