By TRACY HOLMES
November 19, 2015 · 11:56 AM
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Matt Christensen, co-ordinator of a salmon-habitat enhancement project by Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society, shares some of the plans during a recent visit to Blackie Spit. / Tracy Holmes photo

A plan to boost salmon habitat and restoration in Boundary Bay has received a welcome boost from the federal government.

Officials with Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society say the $71,000 Environment Canada grant – which inspired $260,000 in in-kind donations – will fund a three-year assessment and enhancement plan that will expand on previous efforts in the bay, including invasive-species removal and eelgrass-mapping set for July.

"We're hoping to do the entire bay in 10 days," project co-ordinator Matt Christensen said last week.

Eelgrass is a critical component of salmon habitat in the bay, providing both shelter and food. Forage fish are also key, comprising 70 per cent of some species' diets.

The last eelgrass mapping by FoSBS was completed in 2007, and Christensen said he hopes to glean a sense of how the marine plant is doing through comparing results.

Other components of the project – which got underway in September – are to include eelgrass transplants, a speaker series during the City of Surrey's Environmental Extravaganza and development of a plan to build resilience in the bay for climate change and sea-level rise.

Christensen described Boundary Bay as "a web… super-connected," and said public awareness is important.

He described the grant, from the Environmental Damages Fund, as probably the largest guaranteed funding the society has received in a number of years.

The fund is administered by Environment Canada to direct monies collected as a result of fines, court order and voluntary payments "to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment."

For project information, email Christensen at mattch85@gmail.com

 

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