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Kokanee restoration, bull trout monitoring underway in Kootenay-Columbia

FWCP supports Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society & Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society
Kootenay Lake’s shore spawning kokanee restoration and research project is in Year 3, with funding from the FWCP Columbia Region. Photo: File

The Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) recently announced successful grant recipients for this year and next, which included two nearby projects.

Led by the Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society with $18,000 in funding from the FWCP, this multi-year project aims to increase kokanee fry survival by focusing on collecting data and restoring habitat for declining shore-spawning kokanee in the West Arm of Kootenay Lake. In addition, potential sites for future restoration will be identified using on-the-ground monitoring and drone images.

Like all FWCP-funded projects, this project was approved by the Columbia Region board and aligns with regional action plans, which identify local priorities and projects eligible for FWCP funding. This habitat restoration project for shore-spawning kokanee is one of 40 projects in the Columbia region — 10 fish and 30 wildlife — approved from a $6.1 million funding pot.

Another project, led by the Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society, focuses on monitoring West Kootenay bull trout populations using a $15,000 FWCP grant.

The Salmo River Bull Trout Escapement 2022 project will continue bull trout redd counts in known spawning areas of the Salmo River, adding to long-term trend monitoring for this blue-listed (endangered) species. Data collected may inform future habitat restoration and/or conservation efforts.


This project aligns with a trans-boundary Watershed Planning Team request to continue monitoring this population. Conservation biology guidelines for bull trout require 50 to 100 individuals per population to minimize inbreeding effects. Since 2010, the spawning population has been below 100.

The FWCP is a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., Fisheries and Oceans Canada, First Nations, and public stakeholders to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by BC Hydro dams.

BC Hydro funds the FWCP annually to fulfill applicable water-licence obligations in the Columbia Region.

Besides the Columbia Region board approving funding for 40 respective projects for 2022-2023, the Coastal Region board approved 30 projects and the Peace Region board approved 25. Together, the boards approved over $9.8 million.

Read more: Pollinator Week recognized with planting camas in the Kootenay-Columbia (2021)

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Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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