Chinook salmon, coho and marmots to benefit from funding

Comox Valley Echo

Published: Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) has announced funding towards one fish and one wildlife project within the Campbell River Watershed and funding towards four fish projects within the Puntledge River Watershed.

Projects include a marmot recovery program and a program that studies coho smolt/fry migration in the upper watershed of the Puntledge River.

FWCP funds are provided through BC Hydro and managed in a partnership with the Province of British Columbia and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to conserve and enhance fish, wildlife and their supporting habitats affected by the creation of BC Hydro owned and operated generation facilities in the Coastal, Columbia and Peace regions of British Columbia.

FWCP has committed $71,390 to projects within the Campbell River Watershed and $292,531 for projects within the Puntledge River Watershed. All research and project work will take place in 2012/2013.

“We are funding two important restoration projects that target the fish habitat on the Salmon River and the continued expansion of the marmot population,” says FWCP Coastal Board Chair, Brian Assu.

“The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society is leading the fish restoration and research projects on the Puntledge River Watershed in collaboration with other local groups and agencies. For both watersheds, these diverse and important projects reinforce the continued positive partnerships between the FWCP, local First Nations and community groups.”

Applications are reviewed annually in the Coastal region by both technical and board-level committees that include representation from all program partners, First Nations and the public. Projects are chosen based on technical merit, cost vs. benefit, level of partnership, linkages to watershed-specific priorities and overall benefit to the FWCP’s mandate and vision.

The FWCP in the Coastal region has funded approximately $4.4 million in projects on the Campbell River System and $2.3 million in projects on the Puntledge River system since 1999.

For more information and to find out how your project can apply for next year’s funding visit fwcp.ca.

Projects funded 2012-2013 Campbell River Watershed

The Salmon River – Big Tree SideChannel Performance Improvements project ($4,840), led by the BC Conservation Foundation, will evaluate the Side channel that was constructed in 2008 and determine if there are any opportunities to improve fish access.

In its sixth year, the Vancouver Island Marmot Buttle Lake Supplement Project ($66,550) will continue to expand the marmot population and support the Province of B.C. and its Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Program. Continuing on the success of the past five years, the project will again release up to 30-40 marmots at approximately 6 sites in the vicinity of Buttle Lake to augment the current population.

Puntledge River Watershed

The Assessment of Homing Behaviour of Puntledge Summer Chinook Hatchery Returns project ($57,778) continues in its second year. The project will determine if Chinook that are imprinted in Comox Lake will have a higher return rate compared to adults that were reared at the Puntledge Hatchery with no imprinting. Now in the construction phase, the Puntledge River Hatchery Summer Chinook Rearing Consolidation project ($151,184) will install additional tanks to the chilled water acclimation system that will allow for summer Chinook to be held at the Hatchery.

Chinook and coho smolt/fry will also be assessed for a third year ($78,620) as the project continues to analyze the migration of the fish in the upper watershed. And the fourth fish project ($4,950) will prepare a habitat improvement plan and budget for restoration of an area in the Courtenay River Estuary.

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