Sockeye salmon school in a small Bristol Bay creek in the summer of 2018. Municipal leaders will be voting on a resolution at the 2020 Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention for more nature-based solutions in flood management that doesn’t compromise salmon habitat. (Courtesy Photo | Mary Catharine Martin)

B.C.’s municipal leaders to vote on salmon-safe flood control

The resolution asks for funding, support to move away from outdated systems

B.C.’s municipal leaders are being asked to think about salmon safety before replacing antiquated flood-control infrastructure.

At this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention Sept. 22-24 members will be voting on a resolution to pressure the provincial and federal governments to restore and protect salmon habitat compromised by necessary but outdated flood control systems. The resolution notes the side channels, tributaries and sloughs of B.C.s large rivers hold deep value to First Nations, in addition to their exceptional recreational fishing, boating and swimming sites, but many are neither safe or accessible any longer.

READ MORE: Grants awarded to 12 northern B.C. salmon conservation projects

Submitted by the Lower Mainland Local Government Association, the resolution, Flood Risk Mitigation Through Green Infrastructure and Natural Assets, specifically asks the two higher levels of government to fund and incorporate and nature-based solutions for effective flood management while still maintaining the recreational, cultural and ecological benefits of these sites.

The Watershed Watch Salmon Society lobbied for the resolution and launched an online campaign where the public can urge their municipal leaders to vote ‘yes’.

“Thousands of kilometres of salmon habitat are still blocked by obsolete flood control structures in our province, and solutions are available that are not only good for fish, but will make our communities even safer from flooding,” reads a notice on their website.

The society stated they have already successfully pushed for a provincial budget committee to recommend salmon-safe flood control for Budget 2021.

READ MORE: Record-low returns continue for Fraser sockeye despite success of Big Bar passage



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