Valley groups share $15K in salmon enhancement grants

The Alberni Valley Enhancement Society received $14,450 for three separate projects and the Uchucklesaht Tribe received $1,500.

VANCOUVER— Two salmon conservation groups in Port Alberni have received more than $15,000 in grants from the Pacific Salmon Foundation. The Alberni Valley Enhancement Society received $14,450 for three separate projects and the Uchucklesaht Tribe received $1,500.

The funding was part of more than $464,000 in grants to support 57 projects in 45 B.C. communities.

The Alberni Valley Enhancement Society received funds to study the use of estuaries by salmon and to identify opportunities for habitat rehabilitation.

The society also received funds to improve salmon habitat in Deer Creek and at Night Hawk Farms, and to build a “counting fence” to study adult and juvenile salmon in Kitsuksis Creek. The grants were partially underwritten by TimberWest.

“We are very thankful for this support from the Pacific Salmon Foundation,” said Jake Leyenaar from the Alberni Valley Enhancement Society. “We would not be able to complete these projects without their support.”

The foundation also awarded funds to the Uchucklesaht Tribe to repair a storage space for a “counting fence” that aids the tribe in assessing Henderson River salmon.

Significant funding for the grants was generated through sales of the Salmon Conservation Stamp, the decal that must be purchased annually by anglers if they want to keep Pacific salmon caught in salt water off the west coast.

Since 1989, the Foundation has received $6.5 million in stamp funds. Earlier this year, the foundation successfully campaigned to return 100 per cent of stamp user fees to B.C. as part of the March 2013 federal budget.

“The success of our community partners provided a strong case for returning all of the stamp funds to B.C.,” said Dr. Brian Riddell, president and CEO of the Foundation.

“The new stamp money has the potential to generate an additional $1 million for future community grants, which we believe will help us adequately meet the needs of our community partners, like the Uchucklesaht Tribe and Alberni Valley Enhancement Society.”