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Barge & clamshell undertaking habitat restoration on Sturgeon Bank

Habitat Restoration in the Fraser River Estuary

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 restoration project 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.

Salmon fry pool in the estuaries of the Fraser River.

The Fraser River estuary is fragmented by structures that alter the flow of water

Just weeks after construction on the Steveston Jetty, dozens of young chinook and chum salmon were funnelled into our research ...
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Raincoast Fraser River crew sampling juvenile salmon in the east breach.

Great news: juvenile salmon moving through habitats reconnected after 100 years

Success! Since the removal of sections of the Steveston jetty in February, we have been sampling our new jetty ‘breaches’ ...
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Steveston Jetty on a grey day, with overset diagrams showing some of the work we're doing.

Breaking new estuary ground on the Steveston Jetty

This week we break new ground…literally! Raincoast has now begun construction of three breaches of the Steveston Jetty. The Steveston ...
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Raincoast scientists aboard their boat on the Fraser River getting the seine nets ready to do their summer research.

Fraser estuary research completed for 2018

After a long five months we have now wrapped up our 2018 field season in the Fraser estuary, our best ...
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