British Columbia’s First Nations and Campbell River community will benefit from three new projects that will help rebuild habitats, strengthen local wild Pacific salmon populations and support sustainable fishing practices.

“The people of Campbell River and countless others across coastal B.C. depend on sustainable fishing, which is why it’s our responsibility to ensure the long-term health of fish habitats throughout the province,” said Nathan Cullen, B.C.’s Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “These projects go a long way to breathe new life into marine habitats, which will benefit generations to come.”

The Province of B.C. and Government of Canada are providing more than $3.4 million through the co-funded British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF), which supports protection and restoration activities for Pacific salmon and other priority wild-fish stocks.

“We are taking action to improve the habitat of wild Pacific salmon and advance reconciliation,” said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture. “Coastal communities and businesses rely on wild salmon. Their well-being and abundance is critical to the social, economic and cultural fabric of this province.”

Funding will go toward three projects in the Campbell River area, which will focus on restoration of fish habitats and sustainable-salmon stewardship:

  • rebuilding the Homalco Taggares hatchery in Orford Bay as a multi-species hatchery and stewardship centre, following significant habitat damage due to glacial melting in the Elliot Creek watershed and storm damage in 2020. Led by the Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) First Nation.
  • restoring approximately two hectares of the Campbell River estuary by recreating salt marsh and eelgrass habitat that was previously lost due to historical logging in the area. This will increase river connectivity as well as the amount of time fish spend feeding and growing in the estuary, increasing their survival at sea. Led by the Discovery Coast Greenways Land Trust in collaboration with the Wei Wai Kum First Nation, the project also includes environmental monitoring and commercial dive training for the Wei Wai Kum guardian watchmen, as well as professional development for two Greenways biologists in training.
  • implementing a fish trap in the Campbell/Quinsam estuary, including site assessment, engagement, design construction and operation. This will help develop capacity for sustainable-salmon stewardship through selective-fishing methods in traditional fishing areas. Led by the Wei Wai Kum and We Wai Kai First Nations, in partnership with A-Tlegay Fisheries Society.
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“People in this community rely on wild salmon for their food, traditions and livelihood,” said Michel Babchuk, MLA for North Island. “I’m pleased to see the Province and Government of Canada recognize the challenges surrounding salmon habitats in Campbell River and taking action to protect this iconic species.”

All three projects were chosen in addition to more than 70 other projects around the province receiving funding from Phase 2 of the BCSRIF initiative. Each project will support and revitalize salmon ecosystems and habitat, while protecting sustainable fisheries.

“The Wei Wai Kum Nation had the privilege of working with Greenways Land Trust on the Mill Pond Restoration Project funded by BCSRIF grant,” said Danny Hurry, guardian assistant manager, Wei Wai Kum Nation.

“Being a part of the restoration in Mill Pond to rejuvenate the area back to a more natural pristine habitat is rewarding and holds great importance for the Nation. The area is optimal habitat for salmonid species for spawning and juvenile stages. The project will play a key role in the rehabilitation of salmon stocks in the Campbell River.”

Work on the projects began recently and will continue over the next two years, with all project activities to be completed by March 31, 2026.

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