Fraser Basin Salmon Ecosystem Project (Year 2)

The overarching goal of our three-year project is to enhance our understanding of the interactions between salmon and their ecosystems, by examining how aspects of freshwater and riparian habitats affect salmon populations, and how adult abundance in turn affects ecosystem productivity for juveniles. Specifically, our work has three objectives:

1) To test quantitative links between proposed physical habitat indicators and past and current salmon abundance (Strategy 2 of the Wild Salmon Policy).

2) To test quantitative links between historical and recent salmon escapement and various indicators of ecosystem health and productivity (Strategy 3 of the Wild Salmon Policy).

3) To use this new information to inform future management decisions aimed at improving the sustainability of wild salmon stocks.

To meet Objectives 1 and 2, we are linking data from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) on salmon population sizes to new data that a team of graduate students and field assistants have collected by conducting detailed physical and biological assessments of 40 sockeye spawning streams across two regions of the Fraser River. This fieldwork, the ensuing data entry, the commencement of sample processing in the lab, and the entering of historic sockeye escapements from original DFO notes comprised our efforts in 2007 (Year 1).

In 2008 (Year 2), work toward Objective 1 has included additional fieldwork (during which we revisited all of our study streams to collect a subset of variables), followed by the completion of data entry and commencement of analysis. Work toward Objective 2 has consisted of lab processing of the biological samples. In addition to all this, we have continued to extend and enhance our collaborations and partnerships, further aligning our project with the implementation of the Wild Salmon Policy, helping us meet Objective 3 by project completion in 2009 (Year 3).