The FWCP funds projects to conserve and enhance fish, wildlife and their supporting habitats affected by BC Hydro owned and operated generation facilities in the Coastal, Columbia and Peace regions of British Columbia. “These are important restoration and research projects that target gravel placement for spawning salmon, fish passage on the Salmon River, riparian habitat in the estuary, and the marmot program,” says FWCP coastal board chair Brian Assu. “These diverse and important projects reinforce the continued positive partnerships between the FWCP, local First Nations and community groups.” The FWCP is delivered through a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C. and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Three fish projects were granted funding and are all to be led by the Comox Valley Project Watershed Society (CVPWS).
The Assessment of Homing Behaviour of Puntledge Summer Chinook Hatchery Returns ($33,500) will determine if chinook that are imprinted in Comox Lake will return compared to adults that were reared at the Puntledge Hatchery. This is the continuation of a SEED that was funded in 2010/11. Chinook and coho smolt/fry will be assessed for a second year ($100,000) as the CVPWS continues to analyze their migration in the upper watershed.
A third fish project ($4,950) will prepare a habitat improvement plan and budget for restoration of an area of Simms Millennium Park Pond.
Wildlife funding went to the McPhee Meadows Land Acquisition project ($20,000) which will complete a management plan for the newly acquired McPhee Meadows land that is located near the Puntledge Generating Station. “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,” says FWCP manager Andrew MacDonald. “It’s important to have all groups involved in reviewing the proposals.”
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, formerly known as the BC Hydro Bridge Coastal Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program, has funded approximately $2 million in projects on the Puntledge River System. For 2011, the FWCP’s total funding for the 15 hydroelectric systems within the Coastal region will be $1.64 million. All research and project work will take place in 2011/2012.
For more information and to find out how your project can apply for next year’s funding, visit www.fwcp.ca.