A building permit application has been submitted for an expansion to the A Rocha Buck Creek Canfor hatchery. In the foreground is new landscaping. (Photo courtesy A Rocha Buck Creek Canfor hatchery)

A Rocha moves ahead with hatchery expansion project

Has now applied for building permit

After a concerted effort to raise money and in-kind donations, the A Rocha Buck Creek Canfor hatchery has applied for a building permit to extend its building.

A just-received grant of $22,500 from the Pacific Salmon Foundation has brought the hatchery within $25,000 of its $200,000 cash and in-kind goal.

And that has A Rocha, the hatchery’s sponsoring organization confident enough to apply for the permit, says A Rocha official Cindy Verbeek.

She said support of small, community-led stewardship programs by organizations such as the Pacific Salmon Foundation is crucial to the sustainability of B.C.’s salmon stocks.

“These small projects can be upheld by the community over the long term. That’s really what’s going to make the difference, because it provides buy-in from the community,” Verbeek added.

At the same time A Rocha in Houston is continuing to develop its plans for expanding the Buck Creek salmon hatchery and conservation education centre.

A first concept to cost an estimated $300,000 has now been scaled back to a design now estimated in the $200,000 range by reducing the size of the planned expansion of its infrastructure.

The addition, which will boost the hatchery’s ability to offer conservation education programs and enable its use by other groups, will consist of a 30 foot by 30 foot indoor display/activity space and a 20 foot by 30 foot covered outdoor display/activity space.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation $22,500 grant to the hatchery is the largest one of the eight provided to projects in the northwest. In all, $65,800 was provided to the projects.

Province-wide, the foundation allocated $1.2 million to 117 salmon projects.

Foundation president Michael Meneer said its community salmon program is at the heart of its work and that the grants are especially significant this year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elsewhere in the northwest, the Lakelse Watershed Stewards Society in Terrace received $1,470 for its Scully Creek Salmon Escapement project, the Gitksan Watershed Authority is getting $21,000 for a creek restoration project, the Gitanyow Fisheries Authority is getting $13,250 for a salmon survival project, the Smithers Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club Club is getting $1,487 for creek restoration, the North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society $1,100 for creek restoration in Prince Rupert, the Prince Rupert Salmonid Enhancement Society is getting $1,440 for a virtual stream project and the Lake Babine Nation is getting $3,560 for what’s described as an invisible migration event.

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