River society gets $10,000 for bank restoration

The Bonaparte Watershed Stewardship Society receives $10,000 for three bank stabilization projects.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation has announced $10,000 for a Pacific salmon project in Cache Creek.  The total value of the project including volunteer time and community fundraising is $95,000. The project is by the Bonaparte Watershed Stewardship Society (BWSS), with the funds going towards restoring three large, eroding stream banks that are contributing sediment and decreasing salmon production.

BWSS volunteers have been monitoring the river around Cache Creek since 2000. The Bonaparte River provides important salmon habitat and any changes such as bank erosion or higher water temperature affects the chinook, coho and pink salmon, as well as rainbow and brook trout, kokanee and steelhead that live there.

The Society has completed over 130 projects since it began.

“When you look along the banks of the Bonaparte through Cache Creek, you can see the thousands of dollars – private and  public – that has gone into stabilizing those banks,” says BWSS president Al Midgley, “and to many of us, past and present, a lot of memories and exercise in getting it done.”

From Loon Lake to Cache Creek, the river runs through farmland and the Society works with the land owners to repair and restore the banks where needed. The creeks also receive work.

“All the way up Back Valley at each road crossing of Cache Creek,” said Midgley, “is more of this type of fish migration improvements, this time paid for by Dept. of Transportation.”

He says the Society has an interpretative project planned for Hat Creek and the Bonaparte at Hat Creek, but it hasn’t received funding for it yet.

“We are pleased to support the Bonaparte Watershed Stewardship Society, as their watershed restoration work will be play a critical role in increasing local salmon stocks,” said Dr. Brian Riddell, president and CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

The Foundation’s Community Salmon Program supports habitat stewardship, Pacific salmon enhancement and watershed education across the province. Community groups, volunteers and First Nations give countless hours each year to monitor watersheds, develop and implement habitat rehabilitation projects, and educate communities about the conservation and protection of salmon. The program requires grantees to find matching funds for projects.

On average, grantees raise an additional six dollars for every dollar they receive through additional fundraising for donations of in-kind and money at the community level.

The majority of funds for the Community Salmon Program were generated through sales of the federal Salmon Conservation Stamp.  The Salmon Conservation Stamp is a decal that must be purchased annually by anglers if they wish to keep Pacific salmon caught in saltwater off of Canada’s West Coast. Currently all proceeds from the $6 dollar stamp are returned to British Columbia through the Foundation, generating about $1 million for community grants annually.

In addition to funds generated from the sales of the federal “Salmon Stamp”, the grants are made possible by Pacific Salmon Foundation fundraising dinners, auctions and donations from individuals, foundations and businesses. Several businesses and foundations also contribute to the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s community salmon program.

“The Community Salmon Program captures the essence of what we are trying to do at the Foundation,” concluded Riddell. “Government, business, First Nations and volunteers all working together – that is the best way to ensure the future of wild Pacific salmon.”

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