Wild Salmon Program
Misty MacDuffee, Biologist, Wild Salmon Program Director
Dave Scott, Biologist, Lower Fraser Research and Restoration Coordinator
Salmon are an important food and cultural focus for First Nations and coastal communities; they are also the foundation of British Columbia’s coastal ecosystems. For millions of years, Pacific salmon have journeyed back to their natal streams and lakes to spawn, delivering critical food to wildlife, and nutrients to the ecosystem.
Raincoast’s Wild Salmon Program is focused on ensuring that BC’s 450+ unique and irreplaceable Conservation Units of wild salmon persist over their historic range at spawner abundance levels suitable to meet the needs of wildlife and ecosystems. CUs consist of thousands of spawning populations from hundreds of coastal rivers and watersheds across BC.
BC salmon face multiple obstacles. Domestic and international harvest, habitat loss (including watershed development), interactions with hatchery and cultured salmon and climate change can individually and cumulatively reduce the abundance of spawning salmon. We address these issues through academic, community, policy and on-the-ground initiativess.
Raincoast’s wild salmon initiatives are the product of coordinated strategies between diverse groups including First Nations, coastal communities, academic institutions (like UVic and SFU) and other NGOs. Our policy recommendations and advocacy on behalf of salmon conservation and wildlife are informed by our research.
Some current projects are:
Join us for a webinar on Salmon as a keystone species on the coast
Join us on this week’s Coastal Insights as we take a look at the pivotal role salmon play in our world while considering the challenges to the long-term resilience of salmon populations.
Chinook salmon exhibit long-term rearing and early marine growth in the Fraser River, B.C., a large urban estuary
Using tiny salmon ear bones, or otoliths, Raincoast researchers and partners were able to demonstrate that Chinook salmon from Harrison River rely on the Fraser estuary for one to two months while they feed and grow. These findings underscore the critical nature of this habitat for the persistence and recovery of Chinook salmon…
Bringing a stewardship program to my home community
Summer student, Robin Buss, worked with Raincoast Conservation Foundation to bring a stewardship program to her home community, the Tsawwassen First Nation…
Tracking Raincoast’s impact through 2020
These conservation efforts and our research have reached millions around the world. Tangible conservation success. 2020 was not all bad – let’s make 2021 even better…
Tracking Raincoast into 2021
Like everyone else in 2020, we have had to adapt and explore our own resilience. From pausing multi-year field research programs, cancelling youth education and our usual travel throughout the coast, COVID has disrupted much. Yet we are grateful to have our health and play our part in protecting and supporting the communities, businesses, and individuals we work with…
Raincoast’s Small Stream Surveys document the existence of hundreds of small streams that support salmon, yet are not catalogued federally or provincially.
In partnership with SFU, the Chum & Coho Stream Ecology project found that juvenile coho abundance is up to 3x higher in streams that have pink and chum runs compared to streams that don’t.
In partnership with SFU and the UVic, the Juvenile Salmon Ecology Project found that salmon farms on the migration routes of juvenile salmon disrupt survival of sockeye, chum and pink salmon.