Guest Blog: Celebrating the Resilience of Wild Pacific Salmon

PSF has supported the Oyster River Enhancement Society near Black Creek with more then $300,000 in grants since 1989. One recent grant helped build a new incubation building to increase production to about 2 million salmon per year.


The Pacific Salmon Conservation Fund was established at the Victoria Foundation in 2005. This fund supports the conservation and education work of the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

Our Vision is to support healthy, sustainable and naturally diverse populations of Pacific salmon for the benefit of Canadians for generations to come. Our mission is to provide thoughtful leadership in the conservation, restoration, and enhancement of Pacific salmon and their ecosystems.

Pacific salmon in British Columbia are central to our environment, our culture and a near $1 billion fishing-based economy. Unfortunately, the past century of development has resulted in disrupted streams, rivers and coastlines that negatively impact salmon and the wildlife that depend on them. Fortunately, salmon are resilient, and they benefit from a legion of passionate volunteers and donors doing their utmost to protect them.

Streamkeepers: Salmon Heroes

Since 1987, the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) has supported some 35,000 ‘streamkeepers’ across British Columbia and the Yukon through its Community Salmon Program. Streamkeepers volunteer thousands of hours to restore habitat, monitor local salmon stocks, operate small community hatcheries and deliver salmon education to schools and the broader community. Every $1 granted through PSF’s Community Salmon Program is leveraged, on average, seven-times at the community level.

For the last five years, PSF has supported ongoing work to remove garbage including tires, old boat parts and large plastics from the Campbell River estuary. The estuary was once a thriving habitat for salmon and other wildlife

Vancouver Island: Salmon Successes

Vancouver Island has benefitted from more than $21 million in PSF grants via the Community Salmon Program and PSF’s other funding programs. The grants supported over 1,240 projects valued at more than $67 million. Some of these projects include some astonishing stories of rejuvenation.

PSF grants have helped the Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association deliver Salmonids in the Classroom education to schools throughout Victoria.

In the Comox Valley, decades of logging and mining left the Tsolum River barren for nearly 40 years as toxic metals seeped in from a defunct copper mine. In 1999, the Tsolum was named B.C.’s most threatened river. In 2003 the Pacific Salmon Foundation entered into a unique partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Environment Canada, Department of Fisheries, Tsolum River Restoration Society, and Timberwest, who owned rights to the area. Streamkeepers worked alongside logging staff, government and scientists to start immediately improving conditions for the fish. Meanwhile this working group brainstormed on a longer-term solution that culminated in the government investing $4.5 million to cap the mine with a protective lining. The lining prevented rainfall from absorbing into the toxic ground and water sources.  In 2013, the river celebrated its best salmon return since 1958.

The Goldstream River in Victoria hit an all time low in 1990 with only 50 coho salmon returning to the system. Volunteers from the Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association jumped into action with a new hatchery strategy, and four years later 3,000 salmon returned to spawn. Today, the Association continues to operate the Howard English Hatchery and works with schools throughout Victoria to deliver Salmonids in the Classroom education. Since 1995, PSF donors have been there helping to provide more than $180,000 in grants to education and enhancement projects in Victoria valued at $520,000.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation is a Victoria Foundation hosted organization fundholder, partnering with another, the Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association, in salmon conservation in our region.