Tawney Lem and Sheena Falconer from West Coast Aquatic join MP Gord Johns at Ottawa’s Parliament.

$15M request for West Coast Aquatic fish habitat

WCA executive directors travelled to Ottawa Nov. 18 to meet with federal fisheries staff and ask for $15 million over 10 years.

West Coast Aquatic is asking for $15 million from the federal government to put its Somass River habitat restoration plan into action.

Executive directors Sheena Falconer and Tawney Lem travelled to Ottawa Nov. 18 to meet with federal fisheries staff and ask for $15 million over 10 years to support fisheries management roundtables, implementation of the Somass Integrated Habitat Restoration Plan and inclusion in the Fisheries Protection Act process.

The meeting with ministry staff followed Falconer’s presentation to the federal finance committee pre-budget 2017 sessions in Kelowna last month.

Through a multi-stakeholder roundtable process, a risk assessment was conducted to determine the limiting factors for salmon production in the Somass.

The restoration plan was commissioned by a third party, and what came out of it is that $15 million of habitat restoration is required to repair past damage and support healthy salmon runs, Falconer said.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns helped pave the way for Falconer and Lem in Ottawa, and he also met with Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the Somass fishery.

Falconer said WCA is seeking the full $15 million amount it will take to implement the Somass habitat restoration project.

“This area needs habitat restoration. In other regions millions of dollars have been spent in salmon restoration. Here, it’s been us and the AVEA (Alberni Valley Enhancement Association) spending time writing grants,” Falconer said.

“We have a fishery here that’s pretty critical. I don’t think us searching around for grants is productive.”

The Somass region is home to one of BC’s largest sockeye salmon returns, she said, and provides important economic, social and cultural benefit to the region.

If approved, Falconer and Lem expect that $1.5 million annually will support the governance and restoration work necessary to ensure sustainable regional fisheries.

“We’re pretty hopeful we’re going to get this funding,” she added. “We’ve got a good framework and we’ve got a good plan. We’ve had good interviews.”

Their plan is also “shovel ready”, meaning as soon as it’s funded it can be put into place.

“It’s one of the largest fisheries in BC and it’s not getting the same amount of money other fisheries are, and we need to rectify it.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Just Posted

Rosalind Chapman seeks seat on Port Alberni city council

Community volunteer and longtime Alberni Valley resident Rosalind Chapman will seek a… Continue reading

Accident causes power outage on Beaver Creek Road

One sent to West Coast General Hospital in crash

Inside the music

Big Read: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Save-On-Foods donates to summer kids’ program in Port Alberni

Food bank takes over from breakfast programs once summer vacation starts

West Coast Hockey Prep Camp draws nearly 1,000 players to Port Alberni

History-making Korean hockey coach joins league of celebrity instructors

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters defy eviction order

Demonstrators at Camp Cloud in Burnaby say they won’t leave, but will meet with city officials

B.C. tent city camper arrested for taking coins from fountain

The man, who built a shelter at a Saanich park, says homeless people are unfairly targeted

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Okanagan wildfires have potential to become firestorms, says UBC expert

David Andison said to let smaller fires go, to create pockets in the landscape for new forests

2017 wildfires give B.C. mom chance to say thank you to officer who saved her son

An unlikely encounter in the rural community of Likely, near Williams Lake

Organizers of West Coast sport fishing ban troll for attention

Hook-less anglers hitting Sooke area waters July 29 to protest DFO’s summer fin-fish ban

From hot dog to not dog: stuffed toy prompts car break in

Victoria couple said dog toy had been in the backseat for 18 years without problems

VIDEO: Open water swimming from B.C. to Washington in 24 hours

The swim will take a full day, meaning Susan Simmons will be swimming in the black of night

Most Read