The Federal Government has announced funding of $87,644 to help restore salmon spawning habitat along the Swift Creek viewing area in Valemount after much of it was destroyed in last year’s flooding. The full project is budgeted at $220,000.
In June 2012, spring run-offs severely damaged the George Hicks Park salmon spawning grounds, washing away some of the gravel the salmon need for laying eggs. Bruce Wilkinson of the Valemount Visitor Information Centresaw that salmon spawning at the viewing area was at risk. The same number may be spawning in Swift Creek as in the past, but they aren’t spawning at the tourist viewing area. Thousands of people visit the spawning grounds each year and it is a big tourist draw to the region.
Wilkinson and project biologist Mike Wallis are spearheading a project under the brand new Swift Creek Watershed Society to restore and enhance the spawning habitat area. The project will include site and landscape level mapping of the watershed and a restoration component of five priority sites totaling 338 linear metres. With the announced funding, the restoration activities should be completed in 2014. The project also has an educational component that will be implemented in partnership with the Simpcw and the local schools.
Cathy McLeod, MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, was in Valemount to make the funding announcement at the Visitor’s centre Aug. 27th.
The Village of Valemount also submitted an application to Columbia Basin Trust Environmental Initiatives Program for Site Assessment and Plans. The application was successful and an agreement will be prepared by CBT. The total cost for the site assessment and plans is $16,039, with CBT contributing $9,627, and $6,412 coming from in-kind contributions from Adventure Management, Valemount Secondary School, Valemount Elementary School, and the Village of Valemount.
Kinder Morgan has also donated to the project.
The federal Fisheries proposal was submitted to the government during the first round of applications for Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, which closed on July 12, 2013. A total of 28 projects were approved in British Columbia to restore, rebuild and rehabilitate recreational fisheries habitat. The Government of Canada will provide as much as $1.9 million to support the projects.
The Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program will make as much as $10 million available over the next two years to support recreational fisheries habitat conservation activities. The funding for projects submitted in the first round of applications provides up to $6.5 million for 104 projects to restore, rebuild and rehabilitate recreational fisheries habitat across the country.
For more info on the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, and funding visit: www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/habitat/rfcpp-ppcpr/index-eng.asp
By: Laura Keil