After a long five months we have now wrapped up our 2018 field season in the Fraser estuary, our best year yet! This year our team spent 76 days in the field and we captured more than 35,000 fish, including over 6,400 juvenile salmon. While it has been a long and hot season with a lot of early mornings and work weekends, I think everyone on the team is sad to see it come to an end.
The estuary is an incredibly beautiful setting that we never take for granted, where the herons, bald eagles, seals and seal lions are a more common sight than people, and the sunrise is always a little magical.
This year we had a new focus on our restoration goals, so we expanded our sampling areas to sites that we expect to restore. As part of our Fraser Connectivity Project, Raincoast is working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada over five years (2017-2022) to create new pathways for juvenile salmon through man made barriers that have restricted the connection between the river and its estuary for decades. While these barriers have stabilized the location of the mouth of the river and facilitated industrialization of the lower river and estuary, they have altered the natural movement of freshwater and sediments, and obstructed the nearshore migration pathways that juvenile salmon rely on to access important estuary habitats.