SEHAB Roundtable Report –– November 2016

SEHAB Member:  Elizabeth Hardy

Area: West Vancouver - Howe Sound

Community Advisor:  Rob Bell-Irving

Date: November 2016

Key Issues:

What top three points can you distill from community input to take to DFO RHQ?

  1. Volunteers are passionately appreciative of the SEP programs that they receive. Several said that without support, they feel that their programs would cease to exist.
  2. The support and partnership of DFO add legitimacy to group when establishing and when applying for funding.
  3. Non replacement of retired DFO staff has resulted in overworked staff and less accessibility to volunteers.

Issues Specific to SEHAB’s Work Plan:

SEHAB Work Plan

Local Issue, Specific  Examples

Actions by Community or DFO

SEHAB Opportunity

Wild Salmon Policy (Stock Assessment, Habitat)

Retired DFO staff not replaced.  Places strain on existing staff and reduces access to scientific assistance.







Capacity & Core Funding

Volunteer groups are appreciative of support of SEP programs.  DFO partnership is adds legitimacy when applying for project funding.



Submissions, Comments from Groups:

Stewardship Pemberton: 

The SEP program has incredible meaning to our group. We have facilitate this program for three decades, first through the Birkenhead River Hatchery and then, once this was decimated due to flooding, the SEP program served as part of the inspiration to build the Nature Centre and have an environmental education program within close proximate to our communities. It has been a conduit between First Nations and non First Nations, between schools and community groups. It has been a backbone of our offerings, and provided the science links that we rely heavily upon. 

In regards to who to turn to for assistance with habitat/restoration, we actually are well versed on our Board/community (some having had a background in fisheries as well as the SEP Program). 

The support/partnership of DFO has added weight and leverage to our funding applications. The have provided our group with legitimacy as we gained traction and started to become established. 

We need this to continue from DFO! Their PIP funding also supports training for our Board for habitat restoration/conservation, and supports our annual BC Rivers Day event, and assists us with operating our Nature Centre. IT is reliable income that we have come to depend upon - our only actual steady source of income that we receive from any level of government. 

Thanks Elizabeth for asking for feedback. I am going to be sending in a letter to all levels of government encouraging them to keep this program alive. 

Squamish Streamkeepers

Since Sam Gidora, DFO technician, retired last spring he has not been replaced. Consequently, Sam's responsibilities has been dumped upon Dave Nanson who is now overworked.  Dave is now the only person who helps us with respect to habitat.  This situation should not be allowed to continue.

Bowen Island Fish and Wildlife Club

We’ve been very busy here – habitat maintenance challenges brought about by the water levels and decisions on upgrade of our water supply. Also we are having the best chum returns in over 10 yrs – the whole Island is bubbling over with spawning stories. We must have 100 “temporary volunteers” reporting in … we have locals emailing us saying salmon are so much “a part of our cycle of life” and thanking we SEP volunteers.

Withdrawal or downsizing the SEP programs including the Terminal Creek Hatchery, our annual PIP grant, Salmon In Classroom, Hatchery tours and education programs, the DFO Community Advisor, the Bi-annual SEP Conference, our Bowen website, assistance to our local government and partnerships with them would all be viewed by our entire population as a major mistake and withdrawal of a valuable Federal Gov’t program.

And later adds:

He wants me to emphasize to you and in turn SEP management that without the SEP Community Advisors, the SEP PIP funding for the Terminal Creek Hatchery, the SEP federal hatcheries,  the  SEP volunteer & public school education support, our entire group of programs would need be shut down. Our 4000 residents and 10’s of thousands of Metro Vancouver visitors would be upset about the short sightedness of the Liberal Government. It would not be possible to continue any of our programs without SEP support. Please convey in the strongest way possible that DFO continue the very critical Salmon Enhancement Program.

West Vancouver Streamkeepers Society

  • strength of returns

Chum salmon are very strong in Brothers Creek.  We are looking at the strongest return in the last ten years.  Coho, although arriving a little later than expected, are coming along fine.  Probably a normal year of about 100 plus in Brothers and Hadden creeks.  Chinook salmon - which are around 10 pounds - are showing more than usual in Brothers Creek.

Other creeks are definitely behind the average at this time.  Chum have been sporadic.  In most creeks we expect coho primarily.  Our spawner season is only two weeks old with coho historically returning until the end of December.

  • projects completed or started since the last meeting (early June)

Lawson Creek replacement fish ladder located adjacent to The Legion building on 18th Street.  The old lightly built, metal fish ladder was destroyed by winter storms and was recently removed.  A more robust concrete fish ladder was constructed, which was longer with larger boxes, more boxes and a lower gradient making it much easier for fish to advance.  Water is now deflected to the ladder which keeps a constant flow in the ladder and allows fish passage under all creek conditions.

Two other projects for mid-2017:

Fish passage in upper Hadden Creek to the Capilano Golf and Country Club.  This requires a fish ladder and amendments to the creek resulting in naturalizing the stream, widening it in places and changing the gradient.

Estuary enhancement project on Larson Creek will provide shoreline protection and improved access into the creek for spawner salmon.

  • poaching/pollution/ other compliance issue

Constant watch.  Mostly clean watersheds.  Issues are mostly about retaining and protecting setback areas, particularly where old houses are being removed and new dwellings constructed.  The norm is to maximize the allowable footprint thus pushing toward the allowable setback.

  • funding

Project funding opportunities appear fairly secure and very helpful.  Grant writing is a challenge with every source having different application dates, criteria, rules about the percentage of government funding allowed, timing of funds, allowable use of the funds and reporting out requirements once the project is complete.  This is just the reality but takes infinite patience and discipline.  If volunteer organizations are willing to go through this, there is certainly solid sources of funds.  Examples include DFO (Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program), Pacific Salmon Foundation, Environmental Damages Fund, compensation funds from municipal government from property developer or road construction by-law infractions (or negotiated settlements),  TD Friends of the Environment Fund, Community Foundations, Royal Bank and major corporations within and outside the community.

In addition to project funding is the sustained funding required just to keep our stewardship operation going.  The PIP grant, although modest, does cover about one-third of our normal operations.  We have been able to secure a five year funding agreement with a consortium of local businesses ($2,000 per year).  Additionally, donations from Streamkeeper members (total membership is 240) and people in the community who have come to know and appreciate our volunteer-driven work helps meet our sustained funding requirements.

  • importance of SEP and DFO to your group 

It is inconceivable that DFO could consider reducing the role of CA’s.  To me, they are the backbone of all stewardship organizations.  There is no possible way any volunteer group can be allowed to conduct salmon enhancement projects without the input of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  Legal issues, good science, habitat assessment, project support, recommendations and design all play into the efforts of Streamkeeper volunteers.

If PSF are correct, that there are 22,000 of us attending to local streams throughout the province, the value of this army of volunteers cannot be overstated.  This is a too powerful and productive contribution to society to ignore.  The fastest way to disassemble this team of stewardship volunteers is to take away the technical support provided by Community Advisors.  I have no doubt that we would lose most of our leadership and many of the 92 volunteers that have made our organization so successful.

North Shore Wetland Partners

NSWP is working on McKay Creek estuary in North Vancouver where the issues are proposed sea diking, and at Cypress Mountain in the headwaters of Cypress Creek where the issues are mostly water quality, invasive reed canary grass, and trail deterioration and infrastructure.  This group appreciates receiving lots of advice from Zo Ann and CAs Rob Bell-Irving and Sandie Hollick Kenyon.