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Report: Blueprint for restoring ecological governance to the Lower Fraser River

The Lower Fraser River and its estuary host a remarkable diversity of species within a globally important ecosystem, including its role as one of the greatest salmon bearing rivers in the world. As of 2018, more than one third of the unique populations of Fraser River salmon and steelhead are considered at risk of extinction. Additionally, there are more than 100 other species of conservation concern just within the Fraser estuary.

Lower Fraser Working Group

To help address these critical conservation issues the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Martin Conservation Decisions Lab at the University of British Columbia and West Coast Environmental Law, have established a Lower Fraser Working Group. This group aims to propose options for Indigenous-led and community-driven governance arrangements that fosters long-term ecological resilience, through ecosystem-based management, of the Lower Fraser River and estuary and the species and people that rely on it.

As a result, this group created a Blueprint for Restoring Ecological Governance, a resource that will guide our efforts towards realizing this long-term goal.

About the report

Prepared by Murray Ned, Tara Martin, Deborah Carlson, Misty MacDuffee, Ross Dixon. Additional expertise from Leah Ballantyne, Ian Hamilton, Kristen Walters, Rayanna Seymour-Hourie.

Art by Carrielynn Victor. Inside photo by April Bencze.

Cover photo of Elder T’it’elem Spath, Eddie Gardner, a member of Skwah First Nation. Photo taken at a 2016 Wild Salmon Caravan event at Cheam Nation’s Longhouse. Image by Michael O. Snyder on assignment with Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Blueprint for restoring ecological governance to the Lower Fraser River (PDF)

Read the report

This Blueprint for restoring ecological governance to the Lower Fraser River is guided by five key principles:

1. A commitment to sustainability that spans seven generations.

2. Governance that honours Aboriginal rights and title, inherent Indigenous jurisdiction and law, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

3. Clear enforcement mechanisms to ensure ecological resilience.

4. Sustainable funding for governance and ecosystem based management.

5. Respect for the opinion, voices, experiences and culture of others.

Blueprint for restoring ecological governance to the Lower Fraser River cover.

Aerial view of the interweaving eddies and regions of the Lower Fraser River nestled in the valley between mountains.
The Lower Fraser River. Photo by Andy S. Wright.