Fish and bear in Jordan River to benefit from funding

Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program initiate programs in Jordan River

According to a press release issued by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) — a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of BC, Oceans Canada, First Nations, and local community groups — two projects have been award to the benefit of Jordan River.

“Two projects aimed at rebuilding salmon stocks and creating dens for Black Bears in the Jordan River watershed will benefit from more than $62,000 in funding from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program,” reads their May 5 release.

“The salmon project will bring a range of stakeholders together to develop a restoration plan for fish, and fish habitat in the watershed,” it continues. “The Black Bear project will create manmade dens to simulate natural dens in large hollow trees, which are in decline in the area.”

The projects will start in the spring and end by early 2015.

The Salmon Project refers to a plan to be prepared by D. Burt and Associates from Nanaimo. Their short term goal is “to involve local land owners, stakeholders, First Nations, and agencies to support project objectives and encourage participating in future restoration initiatives.”

To this end, D. Burt and Associates from Nanaimo received $34,631.

David Burt has been involved with Jordan River since 2005, when he was awarded a BC Hydro contract to take an annual inventory of juvenile trout at 15 index sites between Elliott Dam and the Jordan River Generating Station tailrace.

“I spent a lot of time putting various reports together,” said Burt, referring to the past nine years. “I’ve kind of made it my pet river.” He has worked closely with the Pacheedaht First Nation in compiling his findings, and will continue nurturing that relationship.

“What I’ve observed over the years,” he said in conversation with the Mirror, “is that when you get the different user groups involved, when you get the logging companies involved, eventually they start to acquire the same knowledge and take a vested interest in helping with the river as well, and that starts to affect how they operate within the watershed.”

The plan created in this phase will ultimately be used in Burt’s longer-term plan “for future restoration efforts in the lower Jordan River,” where a roundtable group of various shareholders will be established to work collaboratively in efforts to increase Jordan River’s fish stock.

The second project, the Black Bear Project “will create Black Bear dens in existing forest structures, and evaluate opportunities for artificial den creation.”

Helen Davis of Artimis Wildlife in Victoria will receive $27,723 for this first part of a two-part project. The Black Bear project is in response to the deforestation in the area, which has removed many of the large trees used by bears to build their dens.

Davis said that they are just in the beginning steps of this project. “I’m still figuring things out and getting organized,” she writes in an email. “We haven’t actually done any work ‘on the ground’ yet.”

However, she does plan to keep the Sooke News  Mirror informed, and will provide photos when the first dens are situated.

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