Government of Canada to support seven projects that will restore fish habitat and protect nature in British Columbia


In February 2016, Teck Metals Ltd. was ordered to pay a penalty of $3 million, in the Provincial Court of British Columbia, after pleading guilty to three offences under the Fisheries Act. These offences were related to releases of effluent materials deleterious to fish into the Columbia River. The penalty was directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund for the purposes of conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat and restoration of fish habitat in the Kootenay River or Columbia River watersheds.

Of the $3 million penalty, $2.85 million was made available to support projects through an open and transparent call for proposals. Seven projects received funding, including $1.44 million committed to projects being undertaken by Indigenous organizations. The remaining funds were assigned to the administration of the award.

Eligible applicants included not-for-profit groups, Indigenous communities and organizations, universities, and provincial, territorial, and municipal governments. Funding applicants were invited to address one of four priority aquatic-ecosystem issues that were identified by engaging with regional stakeholders, Indigenous organizations, and government departments. The four priorities included reintroducing salmon, recovering white sturgeon and its habitat, suppressing invasive species, and recovering other native fish species that may be in decline.

  1. Columbia River Chinook Salmon Habitat Restoration and Adaptive Management Framework
    Ktunaxa Nation Council ($571K)
    The objective of this project is to assess the quality, quantity, and restoration opportunities for Chinook salmon habitat within the lower Columbia River region. Through this project, the Ktunaxa Nation Council will develop a framework to guide technical work to support efforts to reintroduce Chinook salmon into the Columbia River basin. Results will be achieved by developing guidelines and studying the region to create models that identify high quality habitats for species in streams.

  2. Remediation of Columbia River White Sturgeon Spawning Habitat
    British Columbia Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy ($796K)
    The objective of this project is to help improve the survival rate of juvenile white sturgeon by restoring and improving its habitat. Results will be achieved by remediating two sites, adding or cleaning existing substrate, and planning the site, including monitoring larval age, stage, and condition.

  3. Salmo River Watershed Instream Restoration Program
    Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society ($219K)
    The overall objectives of this project are to increase instream habitat for bull trout and rainbow trout and develop greater community awareness on the importance of improving and caring for fish habitat. Results will be achieved by conducting site surveys and developing implementation plans with engineers, biologists, and snorkelers. The group will complete instream restoration work with large woody debris and rocky habitat improvements for bull trout and rainbow trout. It will also conduct post-restoration monitoring and surveys and will host site visit and information tours for the community and partners involved.

  4. Conserving Aquatic Ecosystems in the Kootenay and Columbia Watersheds: Suppression of the Invasive American Bullfrog
    British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development ($253K)
    The objective of this project is to suppress the invasion of American bullfrogs and conserve aquatic habitat to provide the endangered northern leopard frog (Rocky Mountains population) a secure area in which to thrive and expand. Results will be achieved through the implementation of a plan to detect and respond to invasive species earlier and by increasing activities to control the invasion of American bullfrogs.

  5. Goat River South Channel Restoration Project
    Lower Kootenay Band ($619K)
    The overall objective of this project is to improve water flow during the dry season, in the Goat River South Channel, to restore ecosystem function of the bottomlands of the Goat River and the Kootenay River. This will support the recovery of native fish species, in particular kokanee salmon and burbot. Results will be achieved by designing and installing an inlet structure and channel to maintain water flow in the South Channel, during low water periods, and assessing the performance of the inlet structure by monitoring the channel during low flow and monitoring and evaluating fish counts in the channel.

  6. Kokanee Access Restoration
    Okanagan Nation Alliance ($248K)
    The overall objective of this project is to improve access to, and conditions of, fish habitat for kokanee salmon in three creeks: Bonanza, Deer, and Eagle Creeks. Results will be achieved by improving access to spawning habitat, restoring channel conditions, and removing problematic log jams.

  7. Heart Creek 2 – Fish Passage Improvements
    British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure ($149K)
    The overall objective of this project is to remove a fish barrier on Applegrove Road, allowing kokanee salmon, bull trout, and rainbow trout to access the upper portion of the Columbia River watershed. Results will be achieved by reviewing and preparing background studies on land surveys, hydrology, channel design, and archaeology and by improving the fish passage by removing a culvert.

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