UPDATE: Funding announced for pair of North Delta salmon conservation projects

Grants for Cougar Creek-related works by Burns Bog Conservation Society, Cougar Creek Streamkeepers

A pair of North Delta non-profit groups are set to receive funding from the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) for salmon conservation projects in Lower Cougar Creek.

Earlier this month, the foundation announced more than $1.2 million in grants to 117 grassroots salmon conservation projects — valued at nearly $10 million, including community fundraising and volunteer time — province-wide. The funds will support thousands of volunteers working to restore salmon habitat in streams, rivers and estuaries; operating conservation hatcheries and related education programs; and undertaking a variety of “citizen science” projects to help better understand the challenges salmon in B.C. are facing.

Locally, the Burns Bog Conservation Society will receive $2,400 for Lower Cougar Creek riparian restoration (a project valued at $64,900), while the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers will receive $1,129 for a beaver pond leveller in Lower Cougar Creek (a project valued at $2,287).

The grants are being awarded through the foundation’s Community Salmon Program, which supports volunteer and community–driven organizations that undertake salmon conservation and restoration projects in British Columbia and the Yukon, according to the PSF’s website.

“Given this challenging time, we at the Pacific Salmon Foundation are carrying on by continuing to support the important work of community and First Nations salmon stewards through our Community Salmon Program. Our announcement today is to send a strong and clear message that the work of salmon stewardship at the community level is vital, and will carry on. We will have to adapt within public health guidelines, but want our community and First Nations partners to know their good ideas will still be supported,” Michael Meneer, Pacific Salmon Foundation president and CEO, said in a press release.

“The Community Salmon Program is the heart of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s work. By working together, we can find solutions and the best way to ensure the future of Pacific salmon across the province.”

The program is funded primarily from sales of the federal government’s Salmon Conservation Stamp, a decal purchased annually by anglers if they wish to keep Pacific salmon caught in saltwater off of Canada’s West Coast. Proceeds from the $6 stamp are returned to British Columbia through the PSF, generating nearly $1.5 million for community grants annually.

“Pacific salmon are crucial to marine ecosystems throughout the West Coast and they hold incredible cultural significance for First Nations and British Columbians. I am very proud of our Government’s continued partnership with Pacific Salmon Foundation and look forward to the results of these vital restoration and conservation projects. By working together, through real collaboration, we will be able to rebuild this critical stock,” federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a press release.

The Province of British Columbia also contributed funds to the Community Salmon Program as part of a $5-million grant to address the immediate needs of Pacific salmon and their habitats.

“These projects and the people behind them will help wild salmon return to B.C.’s streams and rivers, and will let communities share the environmental, social and economic benefits salmon bring with them,” B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said in a press release.

“British Columbians are known for their volunteer spirit and while we still have to follow the recommendations of public health officials, these programs will provide opportunities for people to get back to what they love doing as we work to protect Pacific salmon throughout B.C.”

In 2019, the Pacific Salmon Foundation granted $1,772,207 for 206 Pacific salmon projects across the province — projects with a total value of $10.1 million including community fundraising and volunteer time.

CORRECTION: A previous version of the story incorrectly identified the beaver pond in Surrey’s Cougar Creek Park as the location of the pond leveller project.

RELATED: $25,000 granted to Delta community salmon projects (April 21, 2020)

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