Habitat restoration: Fraser River Connectivity Project
The Lower Fraser and estuary is a highly modified environment with more than 70% of tidal marsh habitats that juvenile salmon rely on lost or locked away behind manmade structures. On the Fraser delta, this includes the jetties, causeways and training walls that were built to control the arms of the river for ship navigation. The estuary is now very fragmented by these structures that alter the flow of water, sediment and nutrients. They also restrict the passage of juvenile salmon that want to move onto the shallow tidal salt marshes and eelgrass to feed and grow.
In 2016, Raincoast began a five-year restorationproject to create openings in several of these man-made barriers that prevent the natural migration of juvenile salmon. The project includes baseline research on juvenile salmon, such as their presence and distribution in different habitats, their size and growth over the season(s) and how long they reside in the estuary. It also includes establishing baseline information on estuarine conditions and salmon movements prior to creating the openings, so that we can evaluate the success of the breaches once they are created.