A number of Vancouver Island groups are being handed the means to tackle the problem of derelict boats for removal from the Salish Sea and beyond.
The province on Wednesday announced marine-cleanup project funding to help organizations deal with derelict boats and shoreline debris along the entire B.C. coastline.
The Salish Sea Indigenous Marine Stewardship Project (a collaboration between Songhees Development Corporation, Salish Sea Industrial Services Ltd. and the Dead Boats Disposal Society) and the Coastal Restoration Society received a total of $4.5 million from the B.C. government for various projects.
The Salish Sea Indigenous Marine Stewardship Project received $2 million, which it will put toward removing 100 derelict boats from the Salish Sea around the southern Island and Gulf Islands.
“Our project recognizes Indigenous leadership in environmental stewardship, and our training program will contribute to Indigenous workforce development and long-term employment opportunities in the emerging ‘blue economy,’” said Christina Clarke, the Songhees Development Corporation’s CEO, in a statement.
The Coastal Restoration Society received $2.1 million and will partner with 10 Indigenous communities to clean up 200 to 400 kilometres of shoreline along the Island’s west coast. Another $400,000 in funding will go toward removing nine derelict boats.
“We are grateful for the funding to move forward on these timely and necessary projects to support the health of the shorelines and coastal livelihoods,” said Josh Temple, Coastal Restoration Society’s executive director.
The funding comes from the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative, a part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response.
“The scale of the problem is massive, and we need to do much more to address ocean debris and its devastating impacts on marine life and food sources,” said George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change strategy. “The enthusiastic response to our call for project applications shows how deeply British Columbians care about our marine ecosystems and the strong desire to be part of restoring and protecting these waters.”
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