30th Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Seattle

Join Raincoast this week at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference where we will meet with some of the brightest minds in conservation to discuss ecosystem recovery in an international transboundary system.

This week Raincoast will join hundreds of scientists, First Nations and tribal government representatives, policy makers, community members and conservationists at the 30th Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, in Seattle. As the largest and most comprehensive conference focused on the Salish Sea, the event is an important opportunity to progress this years theme: Ecosystem Recovery in an International Transboundary System. Raincoast is excited to both learn and play our part in discussing the latest scientific research on the state of the Salish Sea ecosystem and contributing to the conference aims – to guide actions for protecting and restoring this ecosystem.

This year we are once again collaborating with a range of international partners. If you can’t join us in Seattle please follow the links and stay up to date. For Twitter followers we’ll also share more on the Raincoast feed, #SSEC18 .

Wednesday – Southern Resident killer whales

On the first day our input is focused on Southern Resident killer whales. From 1:30 to 2.30 the session, Cumulative Effects on Southern Resident Killer Whales, will be the first public discussion of our population viability analysis. This research was published with an international team of scientists, including Raincoast’s Misty MacDuffee and Paul Paquet and will be presented by Rob Williams from the Oceans Initiative. Rob’s presentation is titled, Evaluating anthropogenic threats to endangered killer whales to inform effective recovery plans.

Following this, Misty MacDuffee will be presenting at a session, from 3:30 to 4:45, focused on Transboundary Actions to Address Threats to Southern Resident Killer Whales. Misty will discuss Management options that address cumulative effects and aid recovery of SRKW including:

  • Options for domestic and international fisheries management
  • Restricting vessel traffic from key foraging areas
  • Initiatives designed to increase accessibility, availability and abundance of Chinook salmon

This research is key to informing our current conservation efforts and to help this endangered population recover.

Thursday – Oil spills and marine mammals

On Thursday, from 11:30am to 1:30pm we will presenting a poster that outlines our published research, Oil Spills and Marine Mammals in British Columbia, Canada: Development and Application of a Risk-Based Conceptual Framework. The paper was authored by Raincoast’s Adrianne Rosenberger, Andrew Rosenberger (yes, husband and wife), Misty MacDuffee and Peter Ross from Oceanwise. The authors developed a framework to assess the impacts of potential oil exposure on marine mammals and applied it to 21 species inhabiting coastal BC. It found that of the 21 marine mammals examined, 18 are at high risk, with Northern and Southern Resident killer whales and sea otters considered to be at especially high risk from an oil spill event in BC waters.

Friday – The Lower Fraser River: a wildlife hotspot on the brink

On the last day, from 10:30am to noon, we are presenting and co-covening a session focussed on a key focus of our conservation efforts in the Salish Sea – the Lower Fraser River and its estuary. The session delves into the social, biophysical, and policy work in the region that are developing strategies for conservation, protection, recovery, and adaptation of the species and ecosystems of concern. Optimal policy and governance structures in cross‐boundary regions will also be discussed as well as action oriented solutions. These solutions, grounded in shared decision making, will tackle a broad mix of challenging issues including balancing the needs of industry and the environment, and assessing the costs and feasibility of conservation management actions.

The session includes a presentation from Raincoast’s David Scott on Characterizing juvenile Chinook salmon outmigration timing, size and population origin in the Fraser River estuary. Our partners at UVic and UBC will discuss Prioritizing management actions for the Fraser River estuary, the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance will discuss, Survival of the Lower Fraser and People of the River by the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance and West Coastal Environmental Law and UBC will provide Suggestions for rethinking governance in the Fraser estuary.

If you are coming we hope you can make one or all of these sessions. Find us and say hello! We look forward to meeting you there.

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Chelsea Greer hanging a wildlife camera.