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Featured Science

Report makes data public on the importance and vulnerability of northern BC’s Skeena River estuary

 

A collaborative report by scientists from the Lax Kw’alaams Fisheries Program, Skeena Fisheries Commission, and Salmon Watersheds Lab publicly reveals the importance of the Skeena River estuary, near Prince Rupert, northern British Columbia, for high-value fish and crustaceans and its vulnerability to climate change.

The Skeena River is British Columbia’s second-largest salmon-producing watershed, after the Fraser River. Draining freshwater from an area the size of Switzerland into the ocean, the estuary provides nursery habitat for juvenile salmon of all species, as well as the oil-rich Eulachon (candlefish), Dungeness crab, surf smelt and Pacific herring; all of significant ecological, cultural, and economic importance.

Despite this, the Skeena River estuary has remained poorly studied compared to its southern counterpart, the Fraser River estuary; and much of the research that has been done to assess the impact of proposed industrial projects remains under lock and key.

This report is the first to synthesize historical and recent research on the estuary and its trajectory under climate change. For example, the report revealed the importance of the Flora Bank region and its eelgrass beds, near the mouth of the Skeena River for young coho, Chinook and sockeye salmon. Each year, as many as 1 billion juvenile salmon may swim through the estuary on their way to the ocean.

 

It is hoped that this information, now publicly available, will provide a scientific foundation for decision-making or planning in future. 

Media: SFU News.

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Latest News

Sep 14, 2021 - Read our new collaborative report synthesizing information on the Skeena River Estuary.

Aug 17, 2021 - We are recruiting for a Masters student to work on our collaborative Estuary Resilience project. Learn more and apply here by September 30.

Aug 12, 2021 - MSc students Julian Gan and Alex Sawyer shared stories about sampling juvenile salmon in the Cluxewe estuary this Summer in this blog.

Jul 30, 2021 - We are seeking a Lab Manager with a keen interest in project management and applied aquatic science to serve as an administrator and coordinator to the lab’s many members and diverse projects. See the full job description here. Applications close August 30.

Jul 21, 2021 - We're also hiring for a Salmon ID and Field Coordination position. View the full job description here and apply by August 20, latest.

Jul 1, 2021 - Check out this article from KOUW Public Radio where Jon discusses the effects of BC's recent heatwave on salmon populations. 

Jun 30, 2021 - The SWL's Watershed Futures Initiative helped an Indigenous Planning Committee to host the Sharing Stories on Climate Change and Cumulative Effects webinar. View the presentation recordings here.

Jun 1, 2021 - We're hiring for a Postdoc Position working on Fish Migration. Position is open until filled. View the full description here.

May 19, 2021 - Congratulations to Daniella LoScerbo who successfully defended her Masters thesis!

May 13, 2021 - Check out some early season fieldwork pics in our gallery.

May 7, 2021 - Jon has a new paper out in Fish and Fisheries on the costs and benefits of diversity in mixed-stock fisheries. Learn more in this Science News story.

May 1, 2021 - We welcome two new members to the lab: PhD candidate Marta Ulaski and former RA and now Co-Advised Masters student, Kirsten Bradford.

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Our Collaborators & Funders

Without the support of the following partners, our research would not be possible. Thank you!

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