Four Parksville Qualicum Beach projects received grants from the Pacific Salmon Foundation, totalling $24,665.
The projects with a total value of $137,359 are initiated by The Guardians of Mid Island Estuaries Society, Eco-Cultural Estuary Restoration; Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, Stream Crossing Yellow Fish Signs for the Englishman Watershed; Parksville Fish & Game Association, Marion Baker Hatchery Water Quality Improvement; and Nile Creek Enhancement Society, Hatchery Upgrades. They are focused on habitat rehabilitation, education, outreach and stock enhancement in the Oceanside area.
“Eco-cultural restoration of sedge marsh habitat was initially developed in partnership with the K’omoks and Wei Wai Kum First Nations. We have now transitioned to building habitat exclosures that resemble Indigenous fish weirs for a modern purpose, to protect and enhance salmon habitat,” said Tim Clermont, executive director with the Guardians of Mid Island Estuaries Society.
The volunteer-based group conducted research in 2010 on the Little Qualicum and Englishman River estuaries to build fenced exclosures to stop locally over-abundant Canada Goose herbivory and degradation of Carex sedge marsh habitat, which is critical for salmon juveniles and a sign of a healthy productive estuary.
Clermont said they’re thankful to Pacific Salmon Foundation, the City of Parksville, Sna-Naw-As First Nation, and the Regional District of Nanaimo for their support as they have managed the local goose population and restored over 5,000m2 of prime sedge marsh habitat at the Oceanside estuaries.
Jack Gillen, president of Nile Creek Enhancement Society also expressed thanks to the PSF funds that allowed them to develop its hatchery and replace collapsing culverts.
“This year the PSF grant will upgrade our six tanks and provide a water delivery upgrade to the tanks, giving better distribution and less silt,” said Gillen. “Without the generous help from Pacific Salmon Foundation it would be a struggle to complete these projects.”
PSF’s Community Salmon Program is funded primarily from sales of the federal government’s Salmon Conservation Stamp. The Salmon Stamp is purchased annually by saltwater anglers who participate in the public fishery. Proceeds from the $6 stamp are returned to British Columbia through PSF, generating nearly $1.5 million for community grants annually.
The Oceanside community is also a strong financial contributor through the annual PSF Oceanside Dinner and Auction. Though postponed for now, the local organizing committee are hopeful that the event will be able to return soon.
— NEWS Staff