The lower Fraser comprises vital habitat for Chinook and other salmon species. But it is the most densely populated area of British Columbia, and the development and impacts that arise from that are challenging. Fortunately, there is a network of stewards that are supported by PSF donors. Here are some of their stories:
Who: Raincoast Conservation Foundation
Where: Fraser Estuary
What:. Estuaries have murky water that help young salmon hide from predators, while supporting a buffet of insects and shrimp-like creatures for them to chow down on. Raincoast, a partner through the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, is studying just how critical estuary habitat is for Fraser Chinook. “We’ve learned that juveniles from different Fraser stocks all use the estuary at different times for a pretty extended period, from about March until end of August. When they return as adults, these different stocks provide a consistent supply of food for Southern Resident Orcas when they’re in the Strait of Georgia. Our research highlights the significance of estuary habitat and the potential for damage if it’s not protected. It’s also helped us focus our restoration efforts,” said Dave Scott, biologist for Raincoast. Raincoast is embarking on a major restoration effort over the next five years with the help of Coastal Restoration Funds to reconnect Fraser estuary habitats currently disrupted by dikes, jetties and causeways.
Photo: Dave Scott holds a Chinook juvenile found in the estuary
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