What are we doing to preserve the aquatic ecosystems of Colony Farm Park?

Researchers are at Colony Farm Regional Park to study the environmental impacts of massive flooding on fish – and the governments of British Columbia and Canada are getting on it.

A Port Coquitlam-based project to maintain and preserve the health of a local watershed is receiving provincial and national funding to make it possible.

The MakeWay Foundation is working in Colony Farm Regional Park to better understand the impacts of flood infrastructure on how fish access its waterways.

Today, it’s one of 22 total projects receiving part of a joint $30.5 million investment to preserve wild Pacific salmon for the local environment, as well as those who depend on it. fish every day.

“The devastating floods in southern British Columbia last November really highlighted the need for us to build back better to protect our communities from flooding, caused by the increased frequency and intensity of such storms as we we’re seeing with climate change,” said Sarah Nathan, director of provincial operations for Ducks Unlimited — a non-profit organization that focuses on wetland conservation in Canada.

His organization is leading some of the projects receiving funding today (April 22) — also on Earth Day — to restore salmon habitat in the Fraser River estuary.

“[The floods] really taught us that we need new ways to live with water. BCSRIF projects [BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund] show that this can come with many other benefits, including healthy wild salmon populations, improved food security, flood protection and thriving communities. »

The funding was unveiled at Colony Farm Regional Park by Joyce Murray, Federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, along with Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MP Fin Donnelly and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MP Port Coquitlam, Ron McKinnon.

It will be distributed by BCSRIF through the provincial government.

Broken down, 70% of the funds come from Ottawa and the remaining 30% from Victoria.

MakeWay Foundation’s Colony Farm objective is in collaboration with the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) First Nation, UBC and the Metro Vancouver Regional District.

“I am very grateful for the work done by our project partners. I appreciate their enthusiasm and dedication to protecting and restoring wild salmon habitats,” said Donnelly, who is also Parliamentary Secretary to the British Columbia Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“BCSRIF projects are diverse in location, scale and approach. They demonstrate the importance of salmon and fishing to BC communities along the coast and in the interior. Researchers and experts harness the use of advanced technology in science, as well as the wealth of indigenous knowledge in their projects.

“And their methods of innovating to achieve them are recognized and appreciated.”

Donnelly adds that 18 of the total 22 projects are led by Indigenous nations and that the $30.5 million is double the funding currently available from BCSRIF.

Additionally, the First Nation Fisheries Legacy Fund Society is in the process of integrating community mapping with geospatial technologies to improve the ability to monitor and manage wild salmon habitat.

The investment is part of $107 million the Canadian government pledged in its Oceans Protection Plan in Budget 2022, which Murray says will help coastal and marine habitats in British Columbia.

“Since 2019, 80 projects have helped conserve wild salmon and modernize BC’s fish and seafood sector through partnerships in innovation, infrastructure and science,” said the member for Vancouver-Quadra.

Murray hopes the projects will ultimately save other species besides wild Pacific salmon, such as herring and killer whales.