Earlier this year we began the first phase of our five-year restoration project in the Fraser Estuary making breaches in the Steveston Jetty to allow young salmon access to Sturgeon Bank.
Since breaching the Jetty, we have been monitoring to establish whether salmon are using the breach in the Jetty. Here is an update from Raincoast Salmon biologist, David Scott “We sampled the East breach on seven occasions with our fyke net, typically setting the nets for 1.5 to 2 hours when the tide is just the right height to connect the river to the foreshore through our breaches. We captured a total of 229 juvenile chum, 109 juvenile chinook and 2 juvenile sockeye. At the west breach we sampled on six occasions from late March until mid June. We captured 43 juvenile Chinook and 71 juvenile chum.
In total we captured 454 juvenile salmon moving through our breaches across our sampling season with the greatest catches coming in April and early May.” This means that young salmon now have access to Sturgeon Bank, a safe, marshy habitat that gives them an easier transition from life in the river to one in the ocean.
This gives these salmon a better chance of survival, including Chinook, the primary food source of Southern Resident killer whales.
The positive effects of this project go beyond the Fraser River and will be beneficial for the Salish Sea as well!