The power of speaking up: breaking news from Stewardship Pemberton – funding for Salmonid Enhancement has been restored!

The federal government proposed to make cuts to Fisheries and Oceans Canada programs, impacting the amazing work our local stewards have done over decades here, restoring habitat, and exposing our littles to the amazing natural world around them. Perhaps in Ottawa, poring over spreadsheets, they didn’t realize the impacts of these decisions. Stewardship Pemberton and the Pemberton Wildlife Association crafted the thoughtful letter below, to ask them to reconsider.

And they did!

At 1:00pm, just a few hours before this post was scheduled to go live, urging all of you lovely readers to throw your voices behind Stewardship Pemberton’s and the Pemberton Wildlife Associations, our local stewards received the following messaging from our MP, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, announcing that:

Today, the Education and Technical Support and the Resource Restoration Unit under the Salmonid Enhancment Program (SEP) are restored. We simply could not have achieved this result without you.

The passion, experience and deep knowledge of salmon and salmon habitat by thousands of remarkable volunteers, over four decades, is irreplaceable. I know that this is instilled and supported by the classroom programs and expertise in the field of that Salmonid Enhancement Program staff. We are grateful for their commitment.

It has never been clearer to the government how dedicated we are, to wild salmon and wild salmon habitat.

Here is what that restored funding to the Resource Restoration Unit (RRU), Stream-to-Sea, Education Coordinator and Technical Support, has done for Pemberton, over the years.

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In Pemberton, B.C. through both the Pemberton Wildlife Association and Stewardship Pemberton Society, we have been actively engaged in the Salmon Enhancement Program (SEP) for over 40 years. We operated the historical Birkenhead River Hatchery and more recently we run the One Mile Lake Nature Centre. These programs have connected our communities through education, outreach, restoration, enhancement and conservation.

The resulting education of thousands of children in the region form long-lasting connections to the environment through the hands-on Stream-to-Sea programs which have been shown to persist through their lifetime.

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Since the inception of SEP, we have restored thousands of square meters for instream and riparian habitat for rearing and spawning salmon which continue to provide benefits today, none of which could have been completed without the partnership with the RRU, which lend expertise such as advice, design, survey and materials. Who will now maintain and ensure the extensive infrastructure will continue to function without this staff? Without DFO involvement many of these projects will fall into disrepair creating a risk to the salmonids that have come to rely on these habitats. NGO’s simply aren’t set up to take on this risk.

Despite being very experienced and engaged NGO’s, without the in-kind support from DFO, none of the projects would have been funded or completed. Every dollar spent on DFO Restoration Biologists, Education Coordinators and Technical Support staff are leveraged by our groups, creating an undeniable and significant return on the DFO investment. Similarly, DFO could never accomplish their goals of protecting salmon through education, conservation and restoration without the support of NGO’s throughout BC.

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Wild Pacific salmon are an important fabric that binds the tapestry of our communities along the Coast and inland. They are an important economic resource for many communities. Pacific salmon are arguably a keystone species that we must restore, conserve and protect not only in the marine environment but in the vital rearing and spawning habitat of our inland waters, ensuring their well-being and the well-being of the hundreds of other species that their health is tied to, including us.

As communities we cannot do this alone.

Let’s stand together to ensure Pacific salmon are protected now and for many generations to come.

On behalf of Stewardship Pemberton Society and the Pemberton Wildlife Association

Dawn Johnson- Executive Director, Stewardship Pemberton Society
Veronica Woodruff- Chair, Stewardship Pemberton Society and Pemberton Wildlife Association, Director
Allen McEwan- President, Pemberton Wildlife Association

This is the power of speaking up. With enough voices working together, a chorus becomes impossible to ignore.

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