Coho fry in North Delta’s Cougar Creek. The tiny fish spend a whole year in the creek before swimming out to the ocean, returning three or four years later to lay eggs of their own. (Deborah Jones photo)

$25,000 granted to Delta community salmon projects

Funds to support programs at three North Delta elementary schools and three non-profit organizations

Six local salmon conservation projects are set to share in over $25,000 in grants awarded by the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF).

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.

The PSF is awarding grants totalling $25,119 to the Burns Bog Conservation Society for its community stewardship program, the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers for Lookout Preschool’s rain garden project, Ducks Unlimited Canada for habitat assessment work, and to three North Delta elementary schools — Brooke, Heath Traditional and Richardson —for Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Salmonids in the Classroom program.

The total value of the projects — including community fundraising, contributions and volunteer time — is $241,725.

“PSF’s Community Salmon Program grants have been absolutely key in putting rain gardens on the map here in North Delta,” Deborah Jones, rain gardens co-ordinator for the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers, said in a press release.

“From our first rain garden in 2006 to our most recent in 2019, we’ve collaborated with PSF, the City of Delta and others to create 29 school and community rain gardens, all planted by youth and adult volunteers. These gardens collectively receive over 20 million litres of stormwater runoff annually that used to flow untreated into salmon habitat.

“Also, the City of Delta has been inspired to create numerous infiltration projects of its own. This is great leveraging with multiple benefits, [including] pollutant removal and groundwater recharge for the benefit of Cougar Creek and North Delta’s other salmon streams, and also enhanced green spaces throughout the community.”

READ MORE: Rain gardens help keep North Delta’s streams flowing

The Community Salmon 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.

Last year, 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.

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.

“The Community Salmon Program is the heart of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s work, and the projects highlight and manifest PSF’s commitment to revitalize and protect Pacific salmon,” Michael Meneer, PSF’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

“By working together with government, First Nations, businesses, community organizations and volunteers, we can find solutions together and the best way to ensure the future of Pacific salmon across the province.”

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