WWF-Canada Restoration Fund recipient Katzie First Nation to restore traditional B.C. landmark and salmon spawning ground

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VANCOUVER, August 7, 2019 —The 2019 WWF-Canada Restoration Fund recipient, British Columbia’s Katzie First Nation, will use the $150,000 CAD grant to restore the Upper Pitt River’s Blue Creek habitat. The area provides a healthy ecosystem for local wildlife and communities and is the traditional territory of the Katzie First Nation.

The Restoration Fund, a partnership with WWF-Canada and Coca-Cola Canada, supports projects that aim to improve the health of Canada’s freshwater ecosystems through direct, on-the-ground initiatives.

About the project
The Upper Pitt River’s Blue Creek has been home to Katzie First Nation since time immemorial and is a crucial reproductive hotspot for the Upper Pitt Chinook salmon. Due to decades of intense fishery pressures and poor land-use practices, this traditional spawning ground has been damaged. Chinook salmon have declined as a result, with spawner numbers decreasing from 3500 in the 1960s, to as low as 75 in 2018.

The Katzie First Nation, a member on the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance, plans to recover this crucial habitat by removing in-stream barriers caused by a recent landslide and build rock and log fortifications to protect spawning beds. These changes will help restore fish migration, ecosystem connectivity and water flow into neighbouring channels that support a variety of species including Chinook, Coho and endangered Steelhead Trout.

Chinook salmon are an important cultural and economic species as well as a major food source for Southern Resident Killer whales. With increasing stressors on both Chinook salmon and their habitat, this traditional First Nation cultural site and spawning ground could be lost, leading to food-web imbalances. This restoration project hopes to reverse this loss and provide future stability to communities, wildlife and Chinook salmon.

Rick Bailey, Katzie First Nation Councilor says:
“Our longstanding relationship with nature focuses around the Pitt and Fraser Rivers and we have always focused on salmon as a sacred animal and focal point to our culture. Salmon are more than fish, they are our family. We hope to protect future generations of species and British Columbians through this important work.”

Jon Radtke, Water Sustainability Manager at Coca-Cola North America says:
“Coca-Cola is proud to support the WWF-Canada Restoration Fund to further our goal of returning 100% of the water we use in our beverages to communities and nature. Having reached this goal in Canada at the end of 2018, we continue to support water conservation projects to further protect and enhance our important natural resources for future generations.”

Elizabeth Hendriks, WWF-Canada’s vice-president of freshwater conservation says:
“The Restoration Fund helps local organizations improve habitat for species at risk and people in highly stressed freshwater ecosystems. This project is a great example of local communities working towards healthy freshwater ecosystems that benefit wildlife and people that depend on it for their survival.”

About Katzie First Nations
The Katzie First Nation is the band government of the Pitt /Alouette region of the Lower Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada. Katzie has been a fishing community since time immemorial. In recent years, many of the Katzie people take time off from their jobs to come back to the river to harvest salmon during the summer months.

About Coca-Cola in Canada
Coca-Cola in Canada employs 6,200 people in more than 50 production and distribution facilities across Canada. We’re proud to offer some of the most popular brands in Canada, many of which come in low and no calorie options, including Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Coca-Cola® Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Life®, Sprite®, Fanta®, NESTEA®, Gold Peak™, POWERADE®, Minute Maid®, Simply®, DASANI®, fairlife®, smartwater®, and vitaminwater®. Coca-Cola in Canada is represented by Coca-Cola Ltd. and Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited. For more information about Coca-Cola Canada, please visit www.coca-cola.ca and www.cokecanada.com.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada 
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

For more information contact:
Alexandra del Castello, communications and media coordinator, [email protected], 416 407 9232