Excerpted from Salmon Steward Magazine, Summer/Fall 2022

Photo: Squamish spit site by Jim Shinkewski

Constructed in the 1970s for an intended coal port that never developed, the Squamish Spit has long been a barrier for juvenile salmon. The spit blocks young salmon from accessing the Howe Sound estuary, which provides an opportunity to grow bigger and stronger before the fish venture out to sea.

As a result of more than 20 years work and a partnership of the Squamish River Watershed Society, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Squamish Nation, and the local environmental community, the berm is being removed with the goal of restoring Chinook salmon habitat to pre-spit conditions. The Squamish Spit Removal project receives funding from PSF’s Community Salmon Program (CSP).

“The removal of the lower stretch of the Squamish Spit will open up the estuary to outmigrating juvenile Chinook salmon that will be able to enter the rich waters of the estuary to grow into smolts before entering into Howe Sound,” says Edith Tobe, project manager for Squamish River Watershed Society. “The project is expected to improve juvenile Chinook salmon survival by 10,000 to 100,000 annually.”

Meanwhile, in Port Alberni, the Riparian Restoration in Huu-ay-aht Territory project also receives funding from CSP. The Huu-ay-aht First Nations team is planting Western Red Cedar and Sitka Spruce in select areas of South Sarita, Pachena, and Sabrina creeks. The trees’ roots will stabilize the banks and provide woody debris that serves to enhance fish habitat.

Funded primarily from sales of the federal government’s Salmon Conservation Stamp purchased annually by saltwater anglers, PSF’s Community Salmon Program provides grants for salmon conservation projects. Proceeds from the $6.24 stamp are returned to British Columbia through PSF, generating nearly $1.5 million annually for community grants. Through 2023, the Province of British Columbia also committed funds to CSP as part of a $5 million grant. The current CSP grant application period is open until Oct. 15, 2022.

Thanks to a $50,000 donation from Paper Excellence in 2022, which will support salmon habitat restoration projects near the company’s B.C. operations — Cranbrook, Crofton, Howe Sound, and Port Alberni, PSF is able to support significant habitat projects.

This article was published in the Summer/Fall 2022 issue of Salmon Steward Magazine. To read the entire issue, visit the Pacific Salmon Foundation website: Salmon Steward Magazine « Pacific Salmon Foundation (