The Dave Chitty Fishway at McLean Mill is getting a few new additions courtesy of Pacific Salmon Foundation funding.
“We received just over $36,000 to do two projects here,” said the Alberni Valley Enhancement Association’s Scott Kenny.
“One was the pedestrian bridge which is going over the fish fence. It serves two purposes—one for us in terms of safety to clear the fish fence in the fall and the other is for pedestrian crossing and viewing.”
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The bridge was partially funded with in-kind donations from the City of Port Alberni.
The fishway at McLean Mill was installed, and Kitsuksis Creek rerouted, in 2012.
The AVEA worked with Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) local advisor Erica Blake on the grant application.
The other project that the AVEA received PSF funding for was a waterline that will allow them to provide clearer water to their hatchery.
“The waterline moves our supply of water from the pond to the creek. It’s a direct feed from the creek now, bypassing the pond and the sediment load that could be in the pond from the log debris,” said Kenny.
“It’s important because of the sediment load that ends up on top of the eggs.”
The mill hatchery is doing well, Kenny noted. “Last year was a little of a lower year for us in terms of intake—we had roughly 20,000 eggs here plus another 60 in terms of chum that was collected with our first nations partners. It really depends on the returns,” he said.
But salmon enhancement is only part of what the AVEA and DFO do out at the mill.
“The community involvement programs are a huge component. DFO supports the Gently Down the Creek program, which ties in with our Stream to Sea program and we have the Salmonids in the Classroom program,” said Blake.
Partnering with the Pacific Salmon Foundation has always netted the region good returns, Kenny said.
“They have 136 projects [in the area] since 1993,” he said. Those 136 projects have seen over $1 million in funding from PSF—with $103,866 just this year. The $1 million is leveraged with other funding sources, stretching it to $10 million over those 136 projects.
“They’re great partners with us.”
Much of that funding comes from the PSF’s annual dinner auction, which takes place on Nov. 5 this year. According to Kenny, last year’s dinner raised approximately $35,000.
“Getting $103,000 is pretty good when we’re raising $35,000,” he said. “They take those funds, pool the money—including from the salmon tags—bring in other corporate funders and then they spread the money.”