Development of An Implementation Strategy for Lower Fraser Coho Habitat Protection, Enhancement and Rehabilitation Projects Through Integrated Planning by First Nations

 The goal of this project was to identify the steps for First Nations organizations to be meaningfully involved in the restoration of lower Fraser River coho habitat.

The specific objectives were:

1. To determine the framework and procedural mechanisms necessary for First Nations to collaborate on the management, rehabilitation and enhancement of lower Fraser coho populations and habitats;

2. To identify specific habitat activities that might be led by each First Nation organization;

3. To determine the framework and procedural mechanisms for First Nations to engage other fisheries resource groups, volunteer organizations, conservation groups and fisheries agencies in discussions to develop an implementation strategy on solutions relating to fish habitat projects.

The development of a comprehensive coho habitat restoration and enhancement implementation strategy followed from a series of roundtable meetings with member First Nations. The recommended steps included:

1. A collaborative and formal relationship should be sought between Musqueam, Tsawwassen, Semiahmoo, Tsleil-Waultuth, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, and Kwantlen First Nations with specific details on the roles and responsibilities described in a Memorandum of Understanding.

2. The role and responsibilities of member First Nations could include activities such as:

·  To collaborate among industry, government and NGO’s to organize strategic outcomes, solicit and generate funding, identify and develop training and employment opportunities, and protect fishing rights;

·  To enable and advocate rehabilitation work, speed-up strategic organization and project development;

·  To build fisheries capacity with area First Nations by assisting with organization of projects, professional designs, and raising funds;

·  To expand the coalition, over time, to include other First Nations within the lower Fraser River.

3. A Secretariat and Technical Advisory Committee should be established to provide policy direction and to guide the planning, survey, design, construction and monitoring activities under the habitat rehabilitation and enhancement program, respectively.

While the formal MOU is being negotiated and developed, member First Nations could act independently or in informal partnerships to implement activities relating to coho habitat projects. These recommended steps would involve:

1. Identifying their needs and preferences concerning specific target project area(s), types of habitat restoration and enhancement projects, types of training and jobs, and level of involvement in planning, design, construction, and effectiveness monitoring;

2. Submitting proposals for coho habitat restoration and enhancement projects to existing programs that are mandated to fund or implement habitat projects; and

3. Organizing and implementing pilot habitat restoration and enhancement projects that include training, feasibility