Burrard Inlet restoration boosts Seymour River salmon returns

A local environmental group says salmon numbers in the Burrard Inlet are improving, with the help of a so-called rewilding project put in place following an oil spill in Burnaby, B.C. in 2007.

Project started in 2013 as a result of an oil spill in Burnaby

The Burrard Inlet was impacted by an oil spill in Burnaby in 2007. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Salmon numbers in the Burrard Inlet are improving, with the help of a so-called rewilding project put in place following an oil spill in Burnaby, B.C. in 2007, according to a North Shore environmental group.

"On the pink salmon I would say the returns are 50 per cent better this year than what we saw two years ago," said Shaun Hollingsworth, president of the Seymour Salmonid Society

Pink salmon returns are up 50 per cent in two years on the Seymour River in North Vancouver.

He said he believes the numbers of salmon on the Seymour River have improved in part because of the work being done by the Burrard Inlet Restoration Program.

Ken Ashley, director of the Rivers Institute at BCIT, says it starts with removing what doesn't belong in the inlet naturally, like boulders, docks and concrete.

"It's like going in and clearing an old house, right? Knock the old place out and dig up the foundation and smooth it over so it's like what it was like before you built the house in the first place." 

The work started in 2013 with funding from a $450,000 fine — paid by Kinder Morgan, a contractor and an engineering consulting company — after a devastating oil spill in a residential area in Burnaby that released more than 250,000 litres of crude oil.

The restoration projects are set to be completed by the fall.

With files from Tina Lovgreen

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