Kate O'Neill measures vegetative cover in Tsolum River

Kate O'Neill measuring depth and temperature in the Tsolum River

News Release
July 17, 2019


Six salmon projects to support education, habitat restoration and a water temperature study

VANCOUVER – The Pacific Salmon Foundation announced it is contributing more than $42,000 to six wild salmon restoration projects in the Comox Valley this summer. The funds came from the Foundation’s Community Salmon Program and were underwritten by Mosaic, the timberland manager for TimberWest and Island Timberlands.

“The Comox Valley has a very active salmon community which is reflected by the breadth of these grants,” said Michael Meneer, president and CEO of the Foundation. “Volunteers there are also important on-the-ground partners working at the forefront of climate change studies – such as with this recent grant we provided for the Tsolum River Restoration Society.”

The grant will support a graduate student working with the Tsolum River Restoration Society to study ways to monitor water temperature changes and possible influences of cooler groundwater in the Tsolum River. The project is co-funded with the Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions that donated $10,000 to the project. 

“Stream temperatures have been monitored in multiple locations in the Tsolum River over many years, and we know that they have exceeded safe temperatures for salmon during the summer months,” said Kate O'Neill, a masters student from BCIT and SFU.  “Groundwater tends to be cooler, therefore, when it enters streams salmon can seek refuge in these colder pockets during the warm summer months.”

Adds O’Neill “Understanding areas of the Tsolum River where there is groundwater input and protecting these areas is crucial for restoration of the river. This is one step to help with wild salmon’s long-term survival in the face of our changing climate.”

This study is timely due to the current drought conditions in the Comox Valley and the vulnerability of juvenile salmon to low water levels in the Tsolum River. The results of the study will inform management decisions and will be added to other data O’Neill is collecting for a temperature monitoring program that can be applied to other salmon-bearing streams in B.C.

“Whether it is an introduction in the classroom or advanced post-graduate work, we’re proud to support active research and education initiatives that will enhance salmon habitat in the Comox Valley,” said Jeff Zweig, President and CEO of Mosaic Forest Management, which has contributed more than $1 million over the past two decades for salmon habitat conservation projects on Vancouver Island.

Five other projects in the Comox Valley-area also received funding:

  • Students at Aspen Park Elementary will participate in the Stream of Dreams classroom education program;
  • Volunteers with the Roy Creek Salmonid Enhancement Society will restore in-stream habitat to increase salmon production in Roy Creek;
  • The Oyster River Enhancement Society will install new holding pens to increase production of four different salmon species at their hatchery; and,
  • The Little River Enhancement Society received two grants to improve hatchery operations and restore almost 2,600 square meters of in-stream habitat to support Chum and Coho salmon, as well as Steelhead and Cutthroat Trout.

The grants were part of $1.3 Million in grants awarded to 152 projects in British Columbia and the Yukon. The total value of these projects including matching donations of in-kind and cash at the community level was $9.7 Million. The Community Salmon Program is largely supported through fees from the Salmon Conservation Stamp which is affixed to tidal fishing licenses and required to retain Pacific salmon species in B.C.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation receives 100% of Stamp proceeds to redistribute as grants to community groups which are added to donations from businesses and individuals, and proceeds from fundraising dinners including the annual Comox Valley Dinner, Dance & Auction which is coming up on Saturday, September 28 at the Florence Filburg Centre. Mosaic is a major funder of the program and recently expanded its support with a multi-year commitment of $330,000 over three years.





Elayne Sun
Pacific Salmon Foundation
Office: 604 664 7664 ext. 123
Cell: 604 340 6940
Email: esun@psf.ca

Kate O’Neill
Tsolum River Restoration Society, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University
Cell: 204 930 8462
Email: kaitlyn.a.oneill@gmail.com

Pam Agnew
Mosaic Forest Management

About the Pacific Salmon Foundation:

Pacific Salmon Foundation was created in 1987 as an independent, non-governmental, charitable organization to protect, conserve and rebuild Pacific Salmon populations in British Columbia and the Yukon. The Foundation’s mission is to be the trusted voice for conservation and restoration of wild Pacific Salmon and their ecosystems and works to bring salmon back stream by stream through the strategic use of resources and by supporting local communities. www.psf.ca

About Mosaic Forest Management Corp:

In November 2018, TimberWest and Island Timberlands affiliated under the management of Mosaic Forest Management Corp. to pursue a range of economic, social and environmental benefits. The affiliated companies have operated on Vancouver Island for over a century, delivering sustainable forest management within their private forest lands and Crown tenure areas.  Mosaic directly employs a talented team working with an exceptional group of contractors to serve our valued customers and work towards the best sustainability outcomes from the working forest.



Media Contacts

For media inquiries contact:
Pacific Salmon Foundation 
Elayne Sun 
Manager, Communications and Marketing