Helping Pacific Salmon Survive the Impact of Climate Change on Freshwater Habitats: Pursuing Proactive and Reactive Adaptation Strategies

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For many generations in western Canada, five species of Pacific salmon have provided a defining role to native and non-native peoples. As a reflection of this cultural importance, there has been a long-standing tradition of communities and governments taking action to help salmon cope with both natural and human pressures on their survival. Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has clearly indicated that humans, by burning fossil fuels and changing the landscape, are responsible for unnatural changes in the world’s climate. In turn, these changes are leading to significant effects on our continents, in our oceans, and in freshwater streams and lakes. Pacific salmon have always responded to past changes in climate and are vulnerable to the types of changes in freshwater streams and lakes being discussed today. Thus emerges another challenge threatening salmon survival which once again requires action by local communities and governments.

Recognizing that Pacific salmon face significant hurdles in the future and that society can take action to help them survive, this report presents an approach and research around key elements to help government decision makers and local communities decide upon appropriate actions. This approach involves four steps:

  • STEP 1: Identify Issues of Concern
  • STEP 2: Assess Vulnerability
  • STEP 3: Summarize Assets
  • STEP 4: Describe Adaptation Strategies

–Excerpt from the Report’s Executive Summary