Vanderhoof has yet to hear back from the federal government about a grant to help fund the building of a much needed sturgeon conservation facility in town. The application was made nearly a year ago.
But perhaps adding fuel to the fire was the fact that a grant of about the same amount was awarded to Vancouver Island University’s new International Centre for Sturgeon Studies.
While this is of course fantastic news for them, it just doesn’t seem right to me that a large chunk of money was given to a facility whose key goal is to grow sturgeon for food, when that same grant could have been used to help save an entire species of Sturgeon in the Nechako River. The priorities here seem rather muddled.
There have been so many people putting in a huge amount of effort to try and save the endangered fish in recent years. Just recently the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative (NWSRI) have helped to facilitate a number of projects to keep sturgeon numbers up.
Just this year during the spring two large gravel beds were placed on the river floor to attempt to restore the spawning habitat, adult sturgeon were released into the river during the late spring, and a number of sturgeon release kits were sent out to area fisher families in August to aid the release of sturgeon accidently caught while fishing for salmon. That was all just this year.
While all these projects are a great help to the species, a conservation facility is what is ultimately needed to save the sturgeon, and time is running out.
It would be a huge shame if all the hard work from the community to save the Nechako white sturgeon is wasted by the continued delay to make this facility a reality.
Here’s hoping someone or something comes forward in the near future with a solution to the funding problem.