SEHAB presentation, Quesnel, October 1, 2010
“Throughout the Pacific Northwest, many wild salmon stocks have declined, and some have disappeared.Substantial efforts have been made to restore some runs of wild salmon, but few have shown much success”.Dr. Robert T. Lackey, US EPA/Oregon State University, 2000
Opening comments and context
- We can not recover what we lose – restoration and enhancement can only replace a tiny fraction of what has been lost or damaged.“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
- Complacency, assuming that salmon are basically ok and that “someone is looking after things well enough” is in my opinion, probably the biggest hurdle to overcome when it comes to long term sustainability of salmon.
- Population and economic growth create an expectation for continued development.There will be continued pressure and impacts to naturally productive habitats.
- There is no single cause or “smoking gun” responsible for impacts and threats to natural productivity.The issues are cumulative resulting from a broad range of activities.
High level issues:
- Trend is for government doing less.More funding now available through non-government bodies than there is directly through government.
- No one place that has an all-encompassing “salmon plan”.Lack of plan for land use/water use.Many things in the northern Interior are good for salmon right now – how do we keep it that way - Planning and decision making.Many people expect DFO to look after all things salmon – we don’t have control over zoning, land use, water use etc. – need engagement from local government, provincial agencies and citizens.
Special northern interior considerations
- Interior residents often do not derive economic benefits or have access to fishing opportunities from salmon in their backyards.Interior residents are often in a position of being stewards of fish and habitat that generates economic benefits elsewhere.This creates a challenge to build and maintain a local public interest in stewardship of the resource
- There is lots of good habitat that is undisturbed or in good functioning condition.The challenge is to contribute to things like planning, priorities, and awareness to sustain this in the course of ongoing and future development.
- Development and landscape isn’t the same as it is in the south.Look there for ideas, but apply the northern context (biology, climate, economy, salmon priorities)
- Monitoring:state of the watershed, state of the habitat, ways to measure and assess change.Almost no one is doing this.
- Awareness, outreach and engagement – the complacency hurdle
- Look for opportunities to expand the area of influence of a project.There are good examples where projects can act as a gateway or opportunity that opens the door to engagement in larger development and planning issues.For example, a restoration project can be a catalyst to mobilize support for changes to a local government development policy.A change in a development policy or practice can lead to positive benefits over an entire stream.
- NGO and FN partnering – both NGO’s and FN’s partner with gov’t and other funding bodies, but to date, my observation has been that FN-NGO partnerships have been limited.Both share many common interests and there is lots of potential for collaboration.
- Some key current or emerging issues that can be considered for projects or activities:
- Water: what is the current situation; where are water issues potentially going to emerge; what kind of information is required for future planning and decisions
- Invasive species; summary of the current situation; immediate priorities; programs to be watching for new arrivals
- Pine beetle; how is it changing the landscape; what kinds of things can be done to help; monitoring
Considerations / conclusions
- There is tremendous power and influence from the voice of advocacy and stewardship groups.This input can have a significant effect on priorities, policies and resources.
- Continue to build capacity.Lobby funding bodies to support long term capacity development.Foreseeable trend is for more funding available outside of government than within government – NGO capacity is important in the current landscape.