Year five in the Fraser River Estuary

Raincoast scientist in grey t shirt and off white cargo pants stands on a bank of grass by the Fraser River estuary holding onto a blue net with orange balls spaced out on top, tied to a tall pole under blue skies.

Photo by Alex Harris/ Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, our research and restoration efforts in the Fraser River Estuary continued through 2020.

Now in year five, this work is helping us understand how the estuary supports millions of juvenile salmon in its different habitats each spring and summer.

Informed by their movements, we began habitat restoration in 2019 to reconnect access to the marsh on Sturgeon Bank by creating breaches in the long rock jetties that direct the flow of the river through the estuary.

In 2019, we captured 454 juvenile salmon (300 chum, 152 Chinook, and 2 sockeye) between March and May, just after we opened the first breaches. In 2020, our catches at the breach locations increased substantially with 1,480 total salmon (297 Chinook, 174 sockeye, 420 pink, 20 coho, 569 chum).

We had big hopes, but these results exceeded even our expectations.

Investigate. Inform. Inspire.

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