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Salmon fry pool in the estuaries of the Fraser River.

Fraser River Estuary Habitat Restoration

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.

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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