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Reflecting back on the year, it has been quite the eventful year for Pacific salmon. These integral species have been dealt unprecedented challenges, like habitat-disrupting flooding events in the spring and life-threatening drought throughout the summer and into the fall. However, thanks to our dedicated network of salmon supporters like you, we have never been in a stronger position to face these challenges head-on. But there is so much more that we need to be doing in the face of salmon’s biggest challenge yet!
In response to growing, time sensitive climate issues facing salmon, PSF has established a Climate Adaptation Fund focused on emergency response and strategic actions for salmon and their habitats related to extreme climate events. We kick-started this fund in response to pressing issues caused by this summer’s prolonged drought.
We want to go even further. Our goal is to raise $500,000 for the Climate Adaptation Fund to set us up for success in 2024, and further enable us to respond to climate emergencies for salmon for years to come.
Will you help us keep the momentum going with a meaningful year end gift of $50, $125, or even $250?
Thanks to support of donors like you, we were able to response quickly when thousands of salmon this fall—including Chinook, coho, pink, sockeye, and steelhead—were observed by Xwísten community members, to be stuck below a section of the Bridge Rapids in the Fraser River canyon, north of Lillooet. Due to drought conditions and low river levels, the decades-old fish ladder salmon typically use to migrate through this area sat well above the water line and was unusable for fish.
Emergency funding from the PSF helped partners enact further urgent measures, like dropping massive sandbags by helicopter to create a temporary passage pathway around the rapids, as well as adapting a natural rock passageway with a spider excavator to make it passable for fish. After two days of site work, most of the stranded salmon were able to pass through the area.
Timely habitat repair work in the Cowichan Valley, particularly to the Chemainus and Koksilah Rivers took place in September. Severe drought conditions on the east coast of Vancouver Island resulted in significant migration barriers for adult salmon. This watershed supports a wide range of salmon species—chum, coho, pink, Chinook, and steelhead—so losing this viable migration route put the spawning opportunities of thousands of fish in jeopardy.
With $55,000 in funding from PSF, Waters Edge Biological and DFO, and with the support of the Cowichan tribes and the Halalt First Nation, partners worked together to identify opportunities for low-flow mitigation work using low-impact restoration techniques like rock weirs to concentrate flows and raise water levels. The technique worked and the crew were delighted to discover that spawners had successfully passed through.