Tracking Raincoast into 2022

Photo by Michelle Valberg.

Measurable results

Peter Ross stands with resolve in front of the Achiever.

As someone who has pursued a life-long journey as an environmental scientist, I find myself wondering whether today’s ‘science to policy’ paradigm is sufficient to safeguard British Columbia from the ravages of climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

As the fragility of our civilization is laid bare by droughts, floods, wildfires, and rising seas in 2021, my appetite for more cohesive and concrete action has increased, as it becomes apparent that the status quo no longer suffices.

And so I find myself on the doorsteps of Raincoast Conservation Foundation, an organization that epitomizes the journey from conservation dreams to reality. Raincoast has broken the mould for environmental sector non-profits by conducting and publishing rigorous peer-reviewed science in ways that inform conservation policy and practice.

With a staff of dynamic scientists, and an applied conservation science lab at the University of Victoria, this scientific capacity provides the foundation for Raincoast’s work. On top of hard-hitting research, Raincoast delivers real-world solutions with tangible conservation outcomes. From large-scale salmon habitat restoration in the Lower Fraser River to purchasing commercial trophy hunting tenures throughout the Great Bear Rainforest to land acquisition in the endangered Coastal Douglas-fir zone, Raincoast’s entrepreneurial approach generates measurable results.

Raincoast’s unique blend of science, practice and community engagement offers us a chance to re-imagine conservation pathways in BC. I look forward to rolling out our new Healthy Waters program, a community-oriented water pollution monitoring initiative that will provide a unique opportunity to highlight the shared value of water to salmon, whales, and people.

Peter Ross, PhD
Senior Scientist and Director, Healthy Waters program

Tracking Raincoast artists and photographers

Fernando Lessa has been a very generous contributor of images to Raincoast over the years. If you’ve been following our communication, you’ve likely seen photos he’s taken of salmon, underwater, from land or from the air. His dedication to documenting and bringing awareness to urban salmon in the Lower Fraser and around Metro Vancouver inspires us. 

Karoline Cullen Page 2-3 (Southern Resident killer whales)
Alex Harris Page ii-iii (mushroom), 1 (Peter Ross), 8-9 (Steveston jetty), 11 (Rough-skinned newt), 20 (S,DÁYES, Pender Island), 21 (Barred Owl), 22-23 (youth on Achiever in the Salish Sea), 24 (Eric Pelkey, Hereditary Chief of Tsawout of the WSÁNEĆ Nation and Drew Graham inset), 25 (Youth leaders), back cover (Northern Red-legged frog)
John Kelsey Page 24 (Achiever)
Jeremy Koreski for Nimmo Bay Page 16-17 (Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure), 26 (boat in Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure)
Fernando Lessa Page iv (salmon smolts), 7 (Chinook salmon), 10 (Lower Fraser)
Tom McPherson, Seaforth Expeditions 26 (coastal wolf)
Geoffrey Reynaud 4-5 (sea otter)
Eric Sambol 17 (grizzly bear inset)
Michael Snyder Page 6 (Roberts Bank Terminal 2 inset)
Alice Sun Page 6 (Western Sandpiper)
Michelle Valberg Cover (black bear with salmon), 12-13 (grizzly bear), 14-15 (coastal wolf), 19 (grizzly bear inset)
Steve Woods Page 17 (coastal wolf inset, black bear inset)

Recovery progress for endangered whales

In 2018, Raincoast and our conservation partners initiated a lawsuit that challenged the federal government’s lack of action to protect endangered Southern Resident killer whales. Since then, important measures have been initiated to address recovery. Are they enough?

2021 was the third year of collaborative efforts by the federal government, NGOs, and stakeholders to implement threat reduction measures. Outcomes have included changes to management of local fisheries and vessel behaviors at certain places and times. These efforts have resulted in less whale watching traffic around endangered whales, slower ships as they move through sections of critical habitat, and less competition with recreational fishers for Chinook salmon. This has given whales more space to forage with less noise, disturbance, and competition. All good things.

However, the population of whales has not significantly changed in the last few years despite new births. One of the outstanding problems remains the harvest of Chinook salmon on migration routes from Southeast Alaska to the Salish Sea, especially in years when salmon abundance is low. These Chinook fisheries are inherently unsustainable. They catch many populations of Chinook migrating to rivers across the coast, often at harvest rates too high for wild Chinook, further depressing their abundance and removing potential food for whales.

Also, these fisheries are conducted on the rearing grounds of immature Chinook salmon that would normally feed for another one to three years, or longer, before returning to spawn. Thus, this harvest can cause the proportion of large, old fish to decline; a condition that is occurring across the coast.

Raincoast continues to champion an ocean for whales that provides healthy abundant salmon and is quiet enough for hunting and feeding.

Donate now and help us save killer whales

Our new Healthy Waters program

In today’s complex, interconnected and fast-changing world, simplicity comes to mind as a rare but valuable commodity. Healthy family. A safe home. Good foods. But when pressed, what could be more immediately important than water?

We often take this precious resource (in Canada) for granted, forgetting that many remote, rural, and Indigenous communities have water that is tainted with fecal coliform, metals, or cancer-causing disinfection byproducts. And while water treatment delivers clean water to millions of homes in towns and cities across the country, an estimated 20% of Canadian homes have unsafe levels of lead (Pb) that enter their water from plumbing infrastructure. One might be surprised at what contaminants get through treatment or join the supply lines to your tap.

And that’s just about water for us humans. At the end of the day, we are only intercepting water for our needs along its cycle in the environment, borrowing it from watersheds, and releasing it as liquid waste into the habitat of fish and whales… adulterated with a complex soup of pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbons, metals, flame retardants, pesticides, and microplastics.

That’s where Healthy Waters fits in. A new Raincoast initiative that brings into focus our tacit participation in the water cycle, our role in shaping the quality of water in our surroundings, and opportunities to construct an innovation agenda that tackles pressing pollution issues. With climate change threatening water quantity and quality just about everywhere we look, the time is right for a refresh of the water file in BC.

Healthy Waters will be a community-oriented water pollution monitoring program that operates first throughout the Fraser River and Salish Sea watersheds, and subsequently throughout British Columbia. Key elements of this program will be a mobile laboratory that provides shared access to high end technology, Indigenous Knowledge that shapes the selection of monitoring locations of cultural and ecological value, and a training platform that harnesses the power of water stewards and watershed champions.

All this in a region blessed with a rich diversity of species and habitats, an area where salmon, whales, and people share a need for a most precious and undervalued resource: water.

An otter lies in on their back in the water with their feet out of the water.
Photo by Reynaud Geoffrey.

Rejecting the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 expansion

As a nursery and feeding ground, the Fraser River Estuary connects a food web linking fish, birds, and marine mammals across thousands of kilometres of the North Pacific Ocean. Even at a fraction of their former abundance, it is the rearing grounds for Canada’s largest runs of Pacific salmon. Despite this, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is proposing to double the size of its shipping terminal at Roberts Bank in the heart of the Fraser Estuary. 

In 2020, a federal review panel concluded that the Terminal 2 shipping expansion project would have significant adverse and cumulative effects to populations of Fraser Chinook. This is due to the proposal’s footprint in the Fraser Estuary and from the migration disruption caused by the terminal’s placement. The panel also concluded that the project’s increase in marine shipping would amplify underwater noise in the Salish Sea, leading to significant adverse effects on endangered Southern Resident killer whales. 

To compensate for these negative effects, the Port Authority has been considering governance options for implementing an ‘unconventional offsetting’ program. However, there is a lack of evidence that offsetting is an effective tool to mitigate the loss of habitat and ecological processes. 

Raincoast is bringing this to the attention of the public and decision makers through impact analysis and collaborative communication efforts with other scientists, organizations, and stakeholders to ensure that the negative effects on Chinook salmon and Southern Resident killer whales that can not be mitigated are reflected in the government’s decision on T2.

Recovering wild salmon through collaborative conservation

The Fraser is one of the world’s greatest salmon rivers. Despite the Lower Fraser representing only 5% of the entire watershed, it supports more than half of the watershed’s Chinook and chum, 65% of its coho, 80% of its pink, and significant populations of sockeye salmon. Since European colonization however, salmon habitats in the Lower Fraser have undergone a vast transformation, drastically reducing the quantity and quality of these habitats. Ongoing industrialization, urbanization, and agriculture, combined with climate change threaten to push salmon populations past a tipping point. 

Raincoast is addressing these threats through our Lower Fraser Salmon Conservation program. Our goal is to see healthy populations of wild salmon returning to the Lower Fraser River to support the wildlife, ecosystems, and people that rely on them. Implementing this means having both feet in two different streams. One stream focuses on conducting scientific research to better understand habitat use, and then uses this to inform habitat restoration projects like the one conducted in the Fraser estuary. The other stream engages a wide variety of collaborators to advance specific conservation efforts that would further ecological resilience.

In 2022, we will also advance our work to restore biodiversity in Lower Fraser salmon habitats. In collaboration with our Indigenous partners, the Healthy Waters program will create a community-based water pollution project that ensures clean water in the habitats of salmon and Southern Resident killer whales. 

Our Salmon for Wildlife component will conduct research that will gather scientific data on grey wolves and grizzly bears [you read that right, we are studying these species in the Lower Fraser!] and will use this information to inform management that improves their welfare and reflects their ecological role on the landscape. Together, these approaches will help restore Fraser River salmon habitats and support the species and people that depend on them. 

100 years later: Reconnecting the Fraser River with its estuary

As we move into 2022, our Fraser River Estuary restoration efforts move towards the next target, the North Arm jetty. In late 2021, we finished our Coastal Restoration Fund project, a five year multi-million dollar initiative to restore connectivity between the main arm of the Fraser River and the marsh on Lulu Island’s Sturgeon Bank. It was a huge success!

We created three large openings in the Steveston jetty to allow passage for juvenile salmon between the river and the marsh. From our monitoring, we know the breaches are already being actively used each spring during the outmigration. Small Chinook fry, which need the estuary marshes, are now reaching them through the breaches. Hopefully this provides them with a better outcome for survival than when the 8 km long jetty forced them out to sea.

As one project winds to an end another begins, as there is no shortage of structures that inhibit the movement of juvenile salmon in the estuary. Similar to the Steveston jetty on the Fraser’s Main Arm, the North Arm jetty was also constructed in the early 1900s to facilitate ship navigation. Ever since then, it has been a barrier to the natural movement of juvenile salmon, other organisms, freshwater, fine sediments, and nutrients that once reached Sturgeon Bank. We began investigating this project in 2018 and our research shows the North Arm is also highly utilized by juvenile salmon.

In 2022, in collaboration with a host of project partners, we plan to restore natural processes by creating three breaches in the North Arm jetty over the next three years. We will continue our monitoring program to determine the rates of juvenile passage in these new breaches and compare that to our previous work. As with the Steveston jetty, we are hoping this access to the marsh improves survival for juvenile Chinook and other salmon.

Adapting for ecological resilience

From extensive biodiversity loss and a rapidly changing climate, the ecological resilience of habitats in the Lower Fraser River face unprecedented challenges. Multiple organizations and agencies support efforts to address these threats, however, no strategy, network, or mechanism existed to align contemporary interests, plans, or agendas.

In 2020, Raincoast, and several of our NGO, academic and professional colleagues began to identify mechanisms that would fill this gap. Collectively, we established the Adapting for Ecological Resilience (AFER) Network to increase coordination, communication and collaboration between organizations and individuals working towards ecological resilience in the Lower Fraser Region.

The AFER Network provides space for focussed discussion related to this broad goal of resilience through five working groups that are set up around the themes of information-sharing, nature-based climate solutions, education, funding, reconciliation and governance. The development and implementation of the Network has garnered significant community support and engaged many individuals and over 30 organizations, including local governments, Indigenous communities, NGOs, researchers, industry, and community groups. As we move forward, the legacy of this initiative includes a more coordinated and integrated approach to research, decision-making, and conservation in the Lower Fraser Region. 

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Investigate. Inform. Inspire.

Applied conservation science helps inform and empower local decision-making

Should a sockeye salmon enter a fishing net or be left in stream to feed the grizzlies with which the Wuikinuxv First Nation have an enduring relationship? According to the Wuikinuxv, and drawing on recent work together, both humans and bears will be considered in salmon management.

´n`a´nakila is the Wuikinuxv principle that roughly translates as ‘to look ahead for someone’. As the collapsed Wuikinuxv (Rivers Inlet) sockeye run rebuilds, the Wuikinuxv Nation is determined to align their Food, Social, and Ceremonial harvest with sustainability targets that allocate enough salmon to support a thriving grizzly population.

Recent research in which Raincoast’s Applied Conservation Science lab helped design a harvest strategy that looks ahead for Wuikinuxv bears. A quantitative analysis of long-term salmon and bear data revealed that bears could maintain high (salmon-fueled) densities if sockeye harvests were about 10% less than the ‘optimum yield’. Optimum yield is a typical fisheries science target that does not consider ecosystem recipients of salmon returns. 

A culturally-enlightened and ecosystem-based approach is unprecedented in modern-day salmon management.

Bears and people – similarly shaped by the landscape

Knowing that bears and people have shared resources and landscapes for millennia, we reasoned that there might be a genetic signal to such a deep relationship. Working with the Nuxalk, Haíɫzaqv, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Gitga’at, and Wuikinuxv First Nations, our recent analysis revealed three genetic groups of bears, which spatially aligned with Indigenous language families in the region. Notably, the borders of the bear groups did not align with management designations as identified by the provincial government, which divides an otherwise genetically continuous population into two. 

Our work draws on our lab’s values

These two recent projects highlight a couple recent and tangible ways in which our research supports not only human-wildlife coexistence but also renewed self-determination by Indigenous governments. Indigenous nations craft evidence-based policy to protect the future of their lands, waters, and resources. Our partnered research complements their own local knowledges to form needed evidence. Doing work in this way draws on our lab values, which includes commitments to evidence-based policy, environmental and social justice, mutually beneficial partnerships, and informed advocacy. In 2022, we look forward to continuing a legacy of providing evidence that helps to inform and empower local governments that safeguard nature.

A grizzly bear wanders out over a grassy point in the Khutzeymateen.
Photo by Michelle Valberg.

The wolf as scapegoat

Whether concealed under a smoke-screen of wildlife management or in the name of protecting domestic livestock, chances are good that a wolf pack somewhere in Canada is now being (or is about to be) poisoned, trapped, sterilized, or machine-gunned from low-flying aircraft by well-intentioned government officials with a less than stellar grasp of ecology and the functioning of biological systems. 

Consider the on-going decline of mountain and boreal caribou in western Canada. Of course, it is true that wolves prey on caribou today as they always have; but the role played by the wolf in the decline of mountain caribou is that of symptom and not underlying cause. Quite simply, people are the ultimate cause of caribou endangerment through the ongoing degradation imposed by resource industries on caribou habitat.

In other words, wolves are scapegoated for the decline of caribou in a morally and scientifically bankrupt attempt to protect Canada’s industrial sacred cows: oil and gas, mining, and forestry. The relentless destruction of forest wilderness via industrial development has conspired to deprive caribou of their life requisites, while exposing them to levels of wolf predation they did not evolve with, and are incapable of adapting to. 

Yet, governments habitually favour the destruction of wolves over any consequential protection, enhancement, or restoration of caribou habitat. As a result, mountain and boreal caribou are on a long-term slide to extinction; not because of what wolves and other predators are doing, but because of what humans have already done.

Wolf science and conservation

As wolves continue to be scapegoated for the decline of caribou, research remains a key element in our efforts to protect wolves. In 2020, a peer-reviewed study, co-authored by Raincoast science director Chris Darimont, revealed poor statistical support for lethal wolf control as a conservation measure for endangered mountain caribou. The following year, a team of researchers, including Raincoast large carnivore expert Paul Paquet, examined a population model used to plan the regulated killing of wolves in Wisconsin, illustrating how natural resource management is often rooted in undisclosed value systems.

In BC, the provincial government estimates that some 1,200 wolves are killed on an annual basis for recreational purposes. In February 2021, a peer-reviewed study led by Chris Darimont was published indicating that trophy hunting large carnivores may erode a broader social license to hunt for food. Misaligned societal values played a prominent role in the 2017 ban on hunting grizzlies, and the researchers believe that similar changes to hunting policy will occur in time with wolves in BC. 

Partnering with First Nations communities, 2022 will see us advancing our scientific understanding of wolves along the South Coast as part of our broader initiative to investigate the connection between land and sea in the Lower Fraser River.

A Rough-skinned newt moves slowly over the forest floor.
Photo by Alex Harris / Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

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Safeguarding coastal carnivores in the Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure

Arial photo of the Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure.
Photo by Jeremy Koreski.

Our longest running campaign at Raincoast has been our Safeguarding Coastal Carnivores campaign. We extinguish guided hunting when we purchase these tenures. We began purchasing commercial trophy hunting tenures with our First Nations partners in 2005. We now own the commercial trophy hunting rights in 5 tenures (approximately 39,000 km2) of BC’s Great Bear Rainforest; we extinguish guided hunting when we purchase these tenures.

We are now raising funds to purchase the biggest tenure (18,239 km2) remaining on the central/south coast, the Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure. Purchasing this tenure will ensure protection for all species in this region that could otherwise be hunted for trophies.

This campaign model supports a new economy. It provides rare, sustainable economic opportunities in remote coastal communities. First Nations communities have made substantial investments in bear-viewing based tourism. When buying a tenure, we consider not just current ownership and levels of hunting, but also the potential for much more aggressive owner groups, and increased levels of exploitation. 

Acquiring the Southern Great Bear Rain-forest tenure will bring us one step closer to our goal of ending all commercial trophy hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Our history of protecting coastal carnivores

In 2001, the Raincoast-led campaign to end the grizzly hunt resulted in a three-year province wide moratorium on killing grizzly bears. It was short-lived, however, as the BC government immediately reversed the moratorium in the summer of 2001 after being in effect for one spring hunting season. Recognizing that the incoming government had no interest in ending trophy hunting of grizzlies, Raincoast looked to a different strategy; the purchase of the commercial hunting tenures in the Great Bear Rainforest. Raincoast has a track record with big ideas. Given that the political landscape offered little hope for stopping trophy hunting of large carnivores, we pioneered a new approach to permanently saving bears and wolves.

2005

Central Great Bear Rainforest


In an unprecedented move in 2005, Raincoast, with our Coastal First Nations partners and supporters, purchased a 25,000 km2 hunting license. This purchase ended commercial trophy hunting over a huge region of BC’s coast.

2005
2012

Spirit Bear


In 2012, we secured a second hunting license, the Spirit Bear tenure, supporting the Kitasoo/Xai’xais and Gitga’at First Nations. Covering 3,500 km2 this tenure is habitat to Spirit bears. Despite a province-wide restriction on killing white-coated Spirit bears, killing black bears – that carry the recessive gene that causes the white coat – is allowed.

2012
2016

Klinaklini


In 2016, we secured a third tenure in the Upper Klinaklini watershed. It covers 2,500 km2 and contains some of the most productive, intact, coastal and interior transition habitat for grizzly bears, black bears, wolves and moose.

2016
2018

Nadeea


In 2018, we secured the Nadeea tenure, 2,350 km2 covering some of the most iconic watersheds in the Great Bear Rainforest.

2018
2020

Kitlope


In 2020, we secured the 5300 km2 Kitlope tenure in Haisla territory. The Kitlope Nuyem Jees Conservancy is the largest expanse of intact coastal temperate rainforest in the world.

2020
January 1, 2022

Southern Great Bear Rainforest


In 2022, we will be working to purchase the 18,239 km2 Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure. This tenure contains significant populations of grizzlies, cougars, wolves, and roosevelt elk. It contains six major coastal inlets, over ten major salmon river systems with estuaries, and countless smaller named and unnamed watersheds, from Smith Inlet to Toba Inlet. This purchase also exemplifies the new conservation economy, as there are more than 19 ecotourism companies here who undertake wildlife viewing.

January 1, 2022
A map of the history of guide outfitter acquisitions by Raincoast in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Guide outfitter tenure acquisitions by Raincoast Conservation Foundation, in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Conserving endangered Gulf Islands forests

The Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) bio-geoclimatic zone is the smallest and most endangered of 16 such zones in British Columbia. According to BC’s Conservation Data Centre, nearly every ecological com-munity in the CDF is provincially listed as threatened or endangered. The Gulf Islands represent 33.2% of CDF forests and associated habitats, and are the Traditional Territories of dozens of Coast Salish Nations. However, due to significant development pressure, a high proportion of private land ownership, and the impacts of climate change, the fragile ecological communities that make the Gulf Islands and the eastern coast of south Vancouver Island so unique are unravelling from former levels of diversity and abundance. 

The ultimate goal of the Gulf Islands Forest (GIF) project is to secure long-term protection for CDF forests and associated ecosystems throughout its natural range. 

We are employing multiple approaches to achieve this, including land acquisition and stewardship, community science initiatives, nature-based climate solutions, and improvements to the Islands Trust land use policy.

We also organized a number of online learning opportunities that focussed on topics like demystifing nature-based carbon projects, the complexities of tree and forest protection on private land, and expert panel discussions that unpack complex environmental problems currently faced by local governments. 

We also released a series of “How-To” videos to assist people across BC in their big tree hunting adventures. The Pender Islands Big Tree Registry is a living database of big trees across North and South Pender Islands, which has grown to include over 100 trees. We also produced a comprehensive report on implementing tree bylaws in the Islands Trust. 

One of the greatest achievements in 2021, however, was the purchase of S,DÁYES Flycatcher Forest, a 13-acre conservation property on North Pender Island with our partners at the Pender Island Conservancy Association.

An owl sits nestled in a mossy tree, with their eyes closed, in the Gulf Islands Forests.
Photo by Alex Harris / Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Emerging stewards in the Salish Sea

Since 2016, our Salish Sea Emerging Stewards (SSES) program has been empowering young conservation leaders by connecting youth to place through immersive land and boat-based learning. The idea of “Two-Eyed Seeing” or the blending of different knowledge systems and ways of being, is central to the program. 

Raincoast’s SSES program produced the second season of an interactive online educational series known as Coastal Insights. Hosted by Peter Underwood of the Tsawout First Nation and Maureen Vo, Education Program Coordinator, the program focused on developing the concept of Two-Eyed Seeing; balancing Indigenous knowledge and contemporary science. The program was livestreamed into classrooms surrounding the Salish Sea, but it also had online viewership from around the world. 

In July, Raincoast partnered with the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council to take part in the ṮEṮÁĆES (Islands) Revitalization Project. The project supports the creation of educational materials that capture the rich history of W̱SÁNEĆ Traditional Knowledge, their cultural revitalization and the protection of their homeland – ÁLEṈENEȻ. Achiever supported five W̱SÁNEĆ Elders, 91 youth, and seven teachers and knowledge holders as they traveled to culturally significant locations in the Gulf Islands to participate in restoration, ceremonies, and archaeological activities.

The SX̱OLE Youth Reef Net initiative, also in partnership with the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council, seeks to empower and educate youth leaders and restore the use of traditional reef net fishing practices. The reef net team, led by Landon Underwood, joined the crew on board Achiever to visit culturally unique parts of W̱SÁNEĆ territory, including SISȻENEM (Halibut Island), ȽEL¸TOS (James Island), and S,DÁYES (Pender Island).

2021 was the second year of the Tsawwassen Youth Stewardship Summer Work program. This eight week program supported 25 youth in developing new skill sets, and a broader understanding of the ecological importance of their home territory. In 2022, we look forward to more programming with our partners including the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership School, the Quw’utsun (Cowichan) School district, and the Tsawwassen Youth Centre.

Three students on a boat looking at a map.
Riley Seward and Kaleah Claxton learning how to chart distances aboard Achiever. Photo by Alex Harris / Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Our research and education vessel, Achiever

In 2021, Raincoast welcomed a new marine operations manager and Captain, Drew Grav-Graham, to the team. Having made the jump from the ecotourism industry, Drew brings a wealth of experience and renewed enthusiasm for SV Achiever and the marine program. 

Diving straight into months of seabird surveys off the west coast of Vancouver Island in the winter and spring, Achiever was put back to its original purpose, doing line transect work offshore. Under contract for Environment and Climate Change Canada, we have been working with a team of biologists to collect baseline data of both local and migratory seabird populations from Brooks Peninsula south and up into the Salish Sea basin. 

Achiever and team also guided six weeks of trips in the Salish Sea for Raincoast’s Salish Sea Emerging Stewards (SSES) program with youth and community members from the W̱SÁNEĆ, Quw’utsun (Cowichan) and Tsawwassen Nations, amongst pandemic cancelations and maintenance. We learned so much from these inspiring youth and knowledge holders, exploring their territories with them.

Building up to be its busiest year to date, 2022 will see Achiever back off shore for more seabird surveys (lasting until the end of 2024), as well as an expanded SSES program, Haíɫzaqv and Kitasoo/Xai’xais youth and donor trips in the Great Bear Rainforest, as well as helping to support and foster Raincoast’s new Healthy Waters program.

Empowering youth leadership

We were very pleased to have five passionate students join our team for the summer of 2021, through Canada Summer Jobs, a federal government initiative aiming to provide paid work and skill development opportunities to youth. 

Over the summer, these five youth contributed to several of our programs, from researching policies to protect trees, to hands-on education programming for Indigenous youth, to constructing and maintaining a traditional reef net (fishing method) that helps reclaim a critical piece of W̱SÁNEĆ culture, to field research in the Fraser River Estuary.

Youth leaders in 2021

Kaleah Claxton
Restoration Project Liaison 

Alex McLean
Tree Policy Protection Intern

Samantha Rhodes
Fraser Research and Field Assistant

Jaya Scott
ForChange Education Intern

Sumeet Sidhu
Tsawwassen First Nation Stewardship Program Lead

Landon Underwood
Executive Coordinator, SXOLE Reef Net Project, WSÁNEĆ Leadership Council

Kaleah Claxton stripping cedar.
Kaleah works with a piece of cedar bark she harvested at S,DÁYES Flycatcher Forest with the guidance of elder SELILYE. Photo by Alex Harris / Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Friend of Raincoast, Mary Morrison 

We would like to honour the late Mary B. Morrison, who last year passed away in her 98th year, and left, in her will, a substantial gift to Raincoast in recognition of our dedication to the protection of BC’s land, waters, and wildlife.

Protect what you love.