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A Conservation Prospectus for the Fraser River Estuary

The cover of report, A Conservation Prospectus for the Fraser River Estuary, is laid over an underwater image of tiny salmon
Photo by Fernando Lessa.

In 2017 researchers from the Martin Conservation Decisions Lab at the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria’s Baum Lab led a conservation decision-making exercise – Priority Threat Management (PTM). They collaborated with the First Nations, Canadian government, the province of British Columbia, Non-government organizations including Raincoast Conservation Foundation, academics and industry to identify the most cost- effective options for recovering and maintaining the region’s biodiversity.

A biodiversity problem with no plan

While the estuary is still home to an incredible amount of biodiversity, less than 30% of intact habitat remains. Currently, 102 species in the Fraser River Estuary are at risk of extinction. The estuary faces cumulative effects from pollution, agriculture, industrial development, extensive dredging and dyking, urban sprawl and climate change. There is no broad conservation management plan for these species at risk, and no governance structures or funding mechanisms in place to implement such a plan. 

“Our study reveals that it is not too late to save species from extinction in the Fraser River Estuary. But to do so, an investment of $381M over 25 years is required along with a co-governance structure to ensure successful implementation of priority management strategies.”

A Conservation Prospectus for the Fraser River Estuary
Prioritising conservation actions for ecological resilience
ISBN: 978-1-9993892-3-9

So what will it take to preserve the Fraser Estuary’s biodiversity?

To address the cumulative threats that are facing the Fraser Estuary tools are needed to identify the most effective ways to conserve and recover remaining biodiversity. In 2017 researchers from the Martin Conservation Decisions Lab at the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria’s Baum  Lab were supported by MEOPAR to apply a cutting edge conservation decision-making tool – Priority Threat Management (PTM). They collaborated with the Canadian government, the province of British Columbia, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation to identify the most cost- effective options for recovering and maintaining the region’s biodiversity. 

A Conservation Prospectus for the Fraser River Estuary.

Citation

Kehoe, L.J., J. Lund, L. Chalifour, Y. Asadian, E. Balke, S. Boyd, D. Carlson, J.M. Casey, B. Connors, N. Cryer, M.C. Drever, S. Hinch, C. Levings, M. MacDuffee, H. McGregor, J. Richardson, D.C. Scott, D. Stewart, R.G. Vennesland, C.E. Wilkinson, P. Zevit, J.K. Baum, and T.G. Martin. 2020. Conservation in heavily urbanized biodiverse regions requires urgent management action and attention to governance. Conservation Science and Practice DOI: 10.1111/csp2.310. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.310

Funders

MEOPAR, Real Estate Foundation, Bullitt Foundation, Sitka Foundation, Liber Ero Foundation, NSERC.