Saving the Heart of the Fraser: Addressing Human Impacts to the Aquatic Ecosystem of the Fraser River, Hope to Mission, BC

The Heart of the Fraser is the gravel reach extending from Mission to Hope and with its complex system of islands, gravel bars and vegetation, supports an amazing array of life. This includes a spawning run of the more than ten million pink salmon, the largest run in BC. The same stretch of river is also a migration corridor for some of the largest spawning runs of sockeye salmon in North America and is home to more than 30 other different species of fish including at least eight that are considered to be at risk.

This part of the river is at the doorstep of over two million people. As such, there are extreme pressures from various development activities and many habitats have already been modified and lost, while others are under imminent threat. Yet, this area has received far less attention than many other areas in terms of coordinated management efforts aimed at ensuring environmental sustainability. In an effort to address, all levels of government must become more involved in the acquisition, or similar protection through other means, of key lands along the Heart of the Fraser if these ecosystems are to be sustained. A collaboratively developed, enforceable management plan is required to link the various aspects of land purchases and habitat protection into one complete program. Governments must also effectively enforce existing laws and regulations, notably the federal Fisheries Act, to protect the environmental attributes in this section of the river.