April 24, 2018
Choosing Salmon-Safe BC wines protects wild salmon habitat in British Columbia
As B.C. wine month winds down, the Pacific Salmon Foundation wants to remind British Columbians that choosing Salmon-Safe BC wine is an easy way to support wild salmon. Salmon-Safe BC is an independent third-party certiﬁcation program that recognizes operations that have adopted fish-friendly best management practices on their land to protect water quality and restore wildlife habitat in salmon watersheds.
“Salmon require cool, clean rivers to thrive in and spawn,” said Costanza Testino, program manager for Salmon-Safe BC. “Erosion and run-off from farms can bring chemicals and silt into rivers. Silt chokes salmon eggs and covers spawning gravel where eggs hatch, leaving them exposed. These are just some of the ways poorly managed farms can impact salmon habitat.”
A wide-variety of sites have been certified in British Columbia including farms, ranches and business sites. But, vineyards and wineries have been leading the Salmon-Safe movement, with a growing number of new winegrowers showing interest in certification every year. Certified winegrowers have adopted significant measures to minimize their impact on their surrounding ecosystems, including reducing runoff from their hillside vineyards, increasing irrigation efficiency and enhancing native biodiversity on their sites.
Tinhorn Creek winery, one of the very first wineries to obtain the Salmon-Safe certification in BC, was the winery chosen by Minister Lana Popham and premier Horgan to kick off celebration of BC wine month.
"We welcome the leadership of these grape growers and winemakers" said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture for B.C. "Not only are they bringing economic benefits to their communities, they are also protecting a key resource of our province - wild salmon. Wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of sustaining our salmon, but it is great to see winegrowers doing their part in protecting them"
Salmon-friendly vineyard management also produces award-winning wine; Culmina Family Estate Winery, St. Hubertus and Oak Bay Winery and Sage Hills Vineyard have all recently renewed their commitment to salmon-friendly practices and are just some of the BC winegrowers that have achieved Salmon-Safe certification by passing a rigorous assessment of their practices.
The marketing nature of the program is an incentive for landowners to embrace conservation efforts and provides a complimentary tool to other existing stewardship initiatives such as the BC environmental Farm plan to ensure the sustainability of farming in our region, while helping advance key province strategies such as the water sustainability act and BC’s climate leadership plan.
Responding to the ever-growing demand for ecologically sustainable viticulture, the Salmon-Safe eco-label helps BC wine drinkers make more informed choices when they purchase BC wines. As interest continues to rise and more wineries adopt Salmon-Safe practices, BC wine drinkers can add saving salmon to the list of benefits of pouring a glass of BC wine.
For a full list of certified winegrowers, please visit salmonsafe.ca
Costanza Testino, Pacific Salmon Foundation, 604.719.7396, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Salmon-Safe BC:
Established in Oregon in 1996, Salmon-Safe has been working with farmers throughout the West Coast to promote conservation practices for the benefit of Pacific salmon, British Columbia’s “keystone” species. In 2011, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and Fraser Basin Council launched Salmon-Safe BC to deliver the certification in British Columbia. It is now one of the leading regional eco-labels in the Pacific Northwest and more than 10,000 acres of farmland have been certified across B.C., including producers of fruit, vegetables, meat and wine.
About the Pacific Salmon Foundation:
The Pacific Salmon Foundation was created in 1987 as an independent, non-government, charitable organization to protect, conserve and rebuild Pacific Salmon populations in British Columbia and the Yukon. Since 1989, the Foundation has invested more than $58.4 million to support Pacific salmon conservation projects. 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 where local communities are mobilized. www.psf.ca
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