Skip to content

Funding comes to three Campbell River fish restoration projects

Projects ‘breathe new life into marine habitats’ — Water, Land and Resource Stewardship minister
left to right: Steve Hextall, WLRS, Parliamentary Secretary Kelly Greene, MLA Michele Babchuk, Danny Hurry, Assistant Guardian Manager at We Wai Kum First Nation, Jeff Groat, Greenways Land Trust, Katie Lavoie, Greenways Land Trust. Photo courtesy Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship

Three new projects in the Campbell River area will help rebuild fish habitats and support sustainable fisheries.

Joint funding from the province and the Government of Canada will be going to the three projects, among others in the province, to support protection and restoration of Pacific salmon and other priority fish stocks.

“The people of Campbell River and countless others across coastal B.C. depend on sustainable fishing, which is why it’s our responsibility to ensure the long-term health of fish habitats throughout the province,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “These projects go a long way to breathe new life into marine habitats, which will benefit generations to come.”

The three projects are:

- Rebuilding the Homalco Taggares hatchery in Orford Bay as a multi-species hatchery and stewardship centre, following significant habitat damage due to glacial melting in the Elliot Creek watershed and storm damage in 2020. Led by the Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) First Nation.

- Restoring approximately two hectares of the Campbell River estuary by recreating salt marsh and eelgrass habitat that was previously lost due to historical logging in the area. This will increase river connectivity as well as the amount of time fish spend feeding and growing in the estuary, increasing their survival at sea. Led by Greenways Land Trust in collaboration with the Wei Wai Kum First Nation, the project also includes environmental monitoring and commercial dive training for the Wei Wai Kum guardian watchmen, as well as professional development for two Greenways biologists in training.

- Implementing a fish trap in the Campbell/Quinsam estuary, including site assessment, engagement, design construction and operation. This will help develop capacity for sustainable-salmon stewardship through selective-fishing methods in traditional fishing areas. Led by the Wei Wai Kum and We Wai Kai First Nations, in partnership with A-Tlegay Fisheries Society.

“We feel so fortunate to have been awarded a BCSRIF grant to restore important salmon-rearing habitat within the Campbell River estuary,” said Greenways Land Trust habitat management coordinator Camille Andrews. “The Wei Wai Kum guardians are the best partners we could hope for. They bring a wealth of knowledge of estuary ecology and are very hard working.”

Danny Hurry, from the We Wai Kum guardians agrees, saying “The Wei Wai Kum Nation had the privilege of working with Greenways Land Trust on the Mill Pond Restoration Project funded by BCSRIF grant. Being a part of the restoration in Mill Pond to rejuvenate the area back to a more natural pristine habitat is rewarding and holds great importance for the Nation. The area is optimal habitat for salmonid species for spawning and juvenile stages. The project will play a key role in the rehabilitation of salmon stocks in the Campbell River.”

All three projects were chosen in addition to more than 70 other projects around the province receiving funding from Phase two of the BCSRIF initiative. Each project will support and revitalize salmon ecosystems and habitat, while protecting sustainable fisheries.

Work on the projects began recently and will continue over the next two years, with all project activities to be completed by March 31, 2026.

“People in this community rely on wild salmon for their food, traditions and livelihood,” said Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island. “I’m pleased to see the Province and Government of Canada recognize the challenges surrounding salmon habitats in Campbell River and taking action to protect this iconic species.”

“It’s really inspiring for me to see the number of connections and touch points that people have and the pride of place that comes through so clearly what I come to see projects particularly in the Campbell River area,” said parliamentary secretary Kelly Greene. “I’m just I’m very, very pleased and proud to see those connections bear such wonderful fruit.”

RELATED: Nootka Sound Watershed Society receives $1.1 million

First Nation creating new Salmon Parks to protect fragile ecosystems