Raincoast reps at Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

Drift cards reach Alaska, a vision for salmon in the Lower Fraser River, and more.

SIDNEY, BC – As scientists, First Nations and governments officials gather in Vancouver for the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference this week, Raincoast biologists will report their findings that show the potential spatial extent of oil spills in the Salish Sea, as well as the lost connectivity of the Lower Fraser River to many streams and sloughs that once provided salmon habitat.

Raincoast’s drift card study, initiated in 2013, released hundreds of plywood ‘drift cards’ along Salish Sea oil tanker routes. It has now recorded more than 1800 recoveries, from Vancouver, throughout the Salish Sea and all the way to Alaska. The drift card method can inform oil spill response planning, model potential trajectories, and identify areas at risk of contamination. Each card carries a unique number and the message, “this could be oil.” As cards are recovered, the analysis of recovery locations is helping Raincoast and partners to develop an understanding of the potential spatial and temporal spread of spilled oil – see (www.salishseaspillmap.org). With project partners including the City of Vancouver, the Georgia Strait Alliance and the Friends of the San Juans, the study has now deployed more than 4,500 cards.

Raincoast biologist David Scott will present the findings from his Master’s project on the impacts of Lower Fraser River flood control measures on the connectivity of salmon habitat. These structures have played an important role is disconnecting hundreds of kilometers of rearing habitat for juvenile salmon and will be key in any discussion of managing salmon habitat.

The conference will also host a poster discussion on an initiative to develop a long-term vision for salmon in the Lower Fraser River. “Over the last decade agencies with a mandate to mitigate Fraser River habitat loss were dismantled and despite the efforts of various groups, salmon habitat is being continually degraded” said Raincoast’s Salmon Program Director, Misty MacDuffee. Raincoast working with First Nations, NGOs and others to identify long-term aspirational goals for salmon habitat in the Lower Fraser and is seeking input.


Drift card study: Andy Rosenberger,

Salish Sea conference presentation Friday 9:00 am – 10:30 am, Track: Fate and Effect of Pollutants, Session: SF1B: FF 1: Fossil fuel export through the Salish Sea – impacts of trains and ships

Salmon habitat in the lower Fraser: David Scott,

Salish Sea conference presentation Wednesday 3:50 pm – 5:00 pm, Flood Management, Climate Adaptation and the Environment in the Salish Sea (Salon 1)

Misty MacDuffee,

A Vision for salmon in the Lower Fraser River Salish Sea Conference Thursday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Poster Session in the Grand Ballroom

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Research scientist, Adam Warner conducting genetics research in our genetics lab.
Photo by Alex Harris / Raincoast Conservation Foundation.