Fraser River Estuary 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. In most places these are dykes and armouring, but on the delta it includes the jetties, causeways and training walls that were built to control the arms of the river and aid navigation.
Today, the estuary is very fragmented by these structures that alter the flow of water, sediment and nutrients to Sturgeon and Roberts Banks, and restrict the passage of juvenile salmon that want to move onto the shallow tidal salt marshes of the delta to feed and grow.
Our plan over the next five years is to create openings in several of these man-made barriers that are preventing the movement of juvenile salmon into the estuary habitats they once occupied. The project includes the baseline research on juvenile salmon, including their presence and distribution in different habitats, their size and growth over the spring and how long they stay in the estuary.
The research also includes collecting the baseline information on conditions as they are now and the movement of salmon prior to creating the openings, so that we can evaluate the success of the openings once they are created.