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Paper Excellence contributes $100,000 to salmon restoration across B.C.

Support critical to protecting freshwater and marine ecosystems close to home

Paper Excellence Canada has donated $100,000 to the Pacific Salmon Foundation to boost efforts to conserve and restore Pacific salmon populations across B.C.

The money will be distributed through grants in communities where Paper Excellence operates to help advance community-driven stewardship initiatives at local levels.

About half of Pacific salmon populations are in a state of decline. Salmon encounter various challenges during a complex life cycle, including the effects of climate change, habitat loss, development and more.

The Paper Excellence donation will support PSF’s Community Salmon Program, which awards hundreds of grants to grassroots salmon conservation projects across B.C. and the Yukon each year. Since PSF launched the program in 1989, it has engaged more than 300,000 volunteers to pursue local projects to restore salmon and rehabilitate habitats.

“Our renewed support for the Pacific Salmon Foundation is critical to our commitment to protecting freshwater and marine ecosystems close to home,” said Graham Kissack, vice president of environmental, health and safety and corporate communications for Paper Excellence Canada.

”Today’s investment will boost capacity for the Community Salmon Program, which enables the progress of hundreds of local salmon protection initiatives. We strive to continually improve our environmental performance. Our gift to the Pacific Salmon Foundation comes at a time when we are working at our mills to reduce carbon emissions and manufacture innovative forest products.”

“Many Pacific salmon stocks are in crisis in British Columbia and it is up to everyone to turn this around,” noted Michael Meneer, chief executive officer and president of PSF. “Fortunately, Pacific salmon are resilient by nature. They’ve been adapting for millennia. We are taking action to mitigate the impacts of changing conditions and help salmon adapt. But in order to do so with adequate resources, we rely on support from businesses such as Paper Excellence to ensure these lifeblood species not only endure, but thrive for future generations. We’re salmon first, salmon always – and we don’t go it alone.”

The Gibsons Marine Education Centre Society has organized an eelgrass and harbour clean-up for March, which will be supported by the donation from Paper Excellence. The event will engage volunteers of all ages who will collect, audit and sort marine debris to help improve harbour habitat. An educational session on the impacts of human activities on the nearshore habitats that are vital to salmon populations will kick off the event.

The society is a Community Salmon Program grantee that has advanced local stewardship and habitat work with support from the Pacific Salmon Foundation. The group works to sustain marine ecosystems in the Lower Sunshine Coast and Howe Sound through a community aquarium operation, environmental education programs and marine conservation projects.

Through surveys conducted in the Gibsons Harbour sub-tidal area, the group previously identified the presence of significant hazardous marine debris in eelgrass beds – critical habitat for salmon near the shore.

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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