close
close

Environmental group buys Fraser River island near Chilliwack, British Columbia, to protect salmon

Environmental group buys Fraser River island near Chilliwack, British Columbia, to protect salmon


VANCOUVER — Key salmon habitat will be protected after an environmental group purchased an island in the lower Fraser River in British Columbia for millions of dollars, with help from the federal government and private donors.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has announced the purchase of the 248-hectare Carey Island near Chilliwack, in a key ecological area between Mission and Hope known to conservationists as “the heart of the Fraser.”

The previous owners, Carey Island Farms Ltd., used the island to grow corn.

According to the reserve, Carey Island is one of the last salmon habitats in Fraser, with gravel channels where salmon and other species, including the endangered sturgeon, can spawn and grow.

Carey Island is of great importance to salmon because it is one of the few privately owned areas in the Fraser where salmon habitat is not disrupted by the construction of dikes and ditches to prevent flooding.

According to the reserve, the purchase of Carey Island was made possible by contributions from individuals, foundations and other donors. Environment and Climate Change Canada contributed $4 million, which represents almost half of the total cost.

The exact price was not disclosed.

“British Columbia’s iconic salmon have now secured a critical spawning area in the lower Fraser River, thanks to the protection of 248 hectares of island and riverbed habitat,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, in a statement.

“These investments through the Canada Nature Fund, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, are part of our national conservation campaign to protect 30 per cent of Canada’s land and water by 2030.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2024.

The Canadian Press