Maple Ridge fish hatchery gets grant for new generator

Students from Highland Park elementary

Students from Highland Park elementary

Soon, if the power goes out, volunteers at the Alouette River Management Society won’t have to worry so much.

Thanks to a grant from the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Allco Fish Hatchery will have a new generator installed, with the help of inmates from Fraser Regional Correctional Centre.

The inmates will help rebuild a room for the donated generator.

That will ensure the pumps keep running and the water keeps flowing and the fish they’re rearing stay alive until they’re released into the Alouette River.

The hatchery is staffed daily by 12 prisoners from the nearby jail on 256th Street. Over the past quarter century, the hatchery has raised 33 million fish for release into the Alouette and other streams.

“A new generator will be much more reliable,” said Amanda Crowston, executive-director with ARMS.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation also provided funding, for a total of $27,023, for a portable set that’s used to demonstrate how pollution and water move across a landscape.

Volunteers are the unsung heroes of Pacific salmon sustainability,” Pacific Salmon Foundation president Brian Riddell said in a news release.

“Their impact on the environment can be seen throughout the province, from salmon hatcheries and stewardship centers to strategically placed rocks, trees and vegetation that protect salmon-bearing streams. These are all the result of dedicated volunteers working thousands of hours to ensure a strong future for Pacific salmon.”

The grants are made possible in part as a result of money raised at the annual Pacific Salmon Foundation Vancouver gala dinner and auction.

The river society is also being helped by a $5,000-grant from Royal Bank of Canada’s Blue Water Project so it can offer its watershed education tours in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows schools.

That’s a new, classroom version of an all-day field trip to Rivers Heritage Centre, a tour of the Allco Fish Hatchery nearby, a forest nature walk, watershed and pollution demonstration and studying water insects.

ARMS said that with increased budget cutbacks to schools, there are fewer opportunities for field trips to encourage and inspire students in the natural environment.

“Watershed Education School Tours will allow students to experience nature in their own backyards and open their eyes to the importance of conservation and preservation of streams, rivers, and forests.”

The society is also applying in August for core funding of about $40,000 from the B.C. Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.