Helping to create thriving communities and healthy environments
Browse the links on the right for a chronological list of our past projects in British Columbia.
Pacific Leatherback Turtle Recovery Plan (2003)
The world's largest sea turtle, the Pacific Leatherback turtle, makes annual feeding migrations from nesting beaches in Southeast Asia all the way to Coastal BC. In 2007 WFT was part of the Recovery Team, which developed a rescue strategy for this remarkable animal.
With the coming into force of the new Canadian Species at Risk Act, Rescue Strategies and Action Plans are being prepared for all Canadian species designated as endangered.
With support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Kennedy Lake Welcome Sign (2003)
In 2003, WFT launched a public awareness campaign about the Kennedy Lake watershed at Clayoquot Sound.
Although the Kennedy Lake watershed at Clayoquot Sound has played an important role in providing salmon for the region for many years, its significance was largely unknown to visitors.
The role of the watershed in providing salmon for region probably doesn't occurs to most visitors. Neither does the history of the watershed, the former greatness of the Clayoquot fishery or the efforts of many groups to study the system and bring the fishery back.
WFT launched a public awareness campaign centred on the Kennedy watershed and its significance to Clayoquot Sound and its people. In early 2003 the project unveiled the Kennedy Lake Welcome Sign on Highway 4.
In partnership with Regional Aquatic Management Society, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, Hupacasath First Nation, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce, Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and BC Ministry of Highways.
Salmon Genetic Conservation (2003)
WFT is a world leader in fish genetic conservation, and was involved in a number of projects in 2003, including the First Nations Salmon Gene Banking, Salmon Gene Banking for DFO, and the Rivers Inlet Chinook Project.
There's enormous genetic variety in salmon stocks, and all of it is important. Our ability to rebuild stocks depends on saving that variety.
When salmon numbers get low, genetic variety begins to disappear, and even if we manage to "turn around" all the other factors causing the decline, we still risk losing the stock. That's when fisheries managers turn to gene banking, a way of preserving genetic variety before it disappears, and making sure it's there for later rebuilding.
WFT’s fish genetic conservation projects include:
Salmon in the Flight Path Interpretive Exhibit (2000)
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Wsikem First Nation and the Victoria Airport Authority were working to rebuild salmon runs near the airport. WFT told their story through an interactive exhibit installed at Victoria International Airport Main Terminal.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Wsikem First Nation and the Victoria Airport Authority needed to get the public interested in their efforts to rebuild salmon runs near the airport, knowing that local streams traditionally provided food for native communities. However, salmon restoration is technical and not intrinsically compelling so how would they tell their story?
WFT found the solution by reducing the details of stream restoration to a few principles and put them on a full-scale mockup of an aircraft tail, complete with flashing lights. SALMON IN THE FLIGHT PATH was installed at the Victoria International Airport Main Terminal for two years. During that time, 1.5 million travelers per year were educated about urban streams and the sponsor's part in protecting them.
To further educate kids, WFT created a flying salmon kit (SKYFISH) and gave these away to children on arriving flights.
In partnership with Imagecraft Studio Limited
A Genetic Blueprint for Rebuilding Clayoquot Sockeye Salmon (1996-2000)
WFT worked with local partners to create a "family tree" for Clayoquot sockeye stocks, using the new tool of DNA fingerprinting.
Sockeye salmon used to be the mainstay of the fishery in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia, a region nominated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The fishery collapsed in the 1970s.
If Clayoquot sockeye are to be rebuilt, managers need to understand how each stock is related to all the others. Between 1996 and 2000, WFT worked with local partners to create a "family tree" for Clayoquot sockeye stocks, using the new tool of DNA fingerprinting. The genetic relationships we discovered are now available for managers and community groups developing enhancement plans for the stocks.
The project was featured in the Pacific Canada exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium in 2001.
In partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium Foundation.
With support from MacMillan Bloedel Limited, Forest Renewal B.C. and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Counting Salmon at Kirby Creek (1997-1999)
WFT teamed up with local partners to build a salmon counting fence in Kirby Creek, a Coho-producing stream in Sooke, British Columbia.
How do you tell how many salmon are out there? One way is to count how many are caught. But to manage salmon properly, you also need to know how many are going up the river to spawn. For that, you need a counting fence.
WFT teamed up with local partners to build a counting fence in Kirby Creek, a Coho-producing stream in Sooke, British Columbia. The fence was operated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and local groups to help monitor the health of local stocks until 2003.
In partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and local groups
Up the CreekTM Board Game (1998)
WFT developed the Up The CreekTM board game to engage players - young and old - in the life of salmon and what they experience during their migration.
Salmon are particularly important to the coastal economy, culture and ecosystems of BC. However, many salmon stocks are dwindling drastically, in a large part due to things humans are doing. Salmon are particularly sensitive to these impacts, as they depend on a variety of different environments during their migration. As such, they are exceptional indicators of intertwined oceanic, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems.
Turning the tide on disappearing salmon requires changes in human behaviour, and a large part of creating this change is education, engagement, and action.
WFT developed Up The CreekTM to engage players (ages 12 - adult) in the life of salmon and what their migration experience. Up The CreekTM takes players into the dangerous world of six real-life British Columbia salmon runs: Dean River steelhead, Chilko River Chinook, Morice River pink, Kitimat River Coho, Skeena River chum, and Bowron River sockeye. As one of these runs, the goal is simple: avoid extinction. To do so, players have plenty of hazards waiting for them.
The hazards are real, because Up The CreekTM was developed with help from real fisheries biologists, fishermen and First Nations.
Since 1998, WFT has sold or donated 1,000 games throughout North America and the world. An eight-page Teachers' Guide, sponsored by BC Hydro, was produced by WFT in 2000 and was distributed free with the game.