TWO North Vancouver salmon conservation projects are swimming in funding after receiving some much-needed grants.
The Pacific Salmon Foundation doled out the grants totalling $75,000 this summer to both the Seymour Salmonid Society and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
The Seymour Salmonid Society received $50,000 for a new roof and upgrades to its Seymour River Fish Hatchery and Education Centre.
"The aging structure is a vital resource for public education, outreach and local salmon enhancement in the community," said Seymour Salmonid Society spokesman Matt Casselman.
The Tsleil-Waututh received $25,000 for restoration of the Indian River watershed with the creation of critical over-wintering habitat for Coho salmon and trout.
"Over-wintering pools are like nurseries for young salmon, providing refuge from winter's fast water flows and supporting food sources for salmon," said Ernie George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation director of the treaty, lands and resources department.
The foundation grants were financed with partial support from Newalta, an environmental-services company, and proceeds from the Salmon Conservation Stamp, a decal that salt water anglers must purchase annually with their licences if they wish to retain salmon. The grants were part of the more than $464,000 the foundation granted to 57 projects in 45 communities across B.C. On July 24, North Vancouver MP Andrew Saxton met with local stream-keeping volunteers during a visit to Mackay Creek, an urban salmon stream in Heywood Park.
Saxton said salmon conservationists could expect more funding for similar projects after changes he pushed through in the March 2013 federal budget. The federal stamp program would also be making more funds available for projects in the future.
"For many years, stream-keeping volunteers were only seeing about one dollar from each six-dollar Salmon Conservation Stamp, with the balance going to the federal government," said Saxton. "With this change in the federal budget, we will now be directing every dollar raised through this angling user fee back to community projects to restore and sustain our Pacific salmon fisheries."
North Shore Streamkeepers volunteer Ron den Daas said Mackay Creek is home to Coho, chum and pink salmon, and cutthroat and steelhead trout.
"As volunteers we want our community and elected officials to understand that we have wild salmon right in our midst in some of the most developed and urbanized parts of North Vancouver," said den Daas.
"We also want people in the community to know that with hard work, year after year, we can maintain these critically important parts of our ecosystem, but we all have to do our part."
Don Swoboda, a North Vancouver resident and volunteer board member with the foundation, said highlighting the impact of volunteer groups such as the North Shore Streamkeepers helped convince Saxton and other MPs from British Columbia to push for a fairer distribution of stamp user fees.
"Our message to the government was all about the power of volunteers to significantly magnify the impact of every dollar generated through the Salmon Conservation Stamp,"
"More than 300 volunteer streamkeeping groups across the province have been tremendously resourceful, and, as a result, generated at least six additional dollars for every one dollar invested from the Salmon Conservation Stamp."
North Vancouver resident Anne Kinvig is also a PSF volunteer board member. She said the foundation has received $6.5 million in stamp funds since 1989 and 90 per cent of the funds went directly to salmon projects at the community level.
Kinvig said the foundation has granted $362,000 to 38 projects in North Vancouver during the last 24 years, and that figure was leveraged by volunteers for a total impact of $2 million in salmon conservation and restoration.
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