Maintaining healthy wild salmon populations
As human activity and land development have increased northward along the Pacific coasts, wild salmon and the dependent ecosystems have declined substantially. Today, many of these watersheds are degraded, and only a small number of wild salmon return every year compared to historical norms.
Two grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation are working to ensure that these salmon ecosystems remain healthy.
The first grant funded research by the University of Washington’s School of Fisheries (UWSF). UWSF’s research found that biodiversity allows for more reliable commercial fishery production, maintaining a healthier level of salmon populations that not only protects the environment, but benefits consumers and seafood businesses.
The second project—protecting the function of the Taku Watershed through support for Round River Conservation Society, Tides Canada, and Rivers Without Borders—supported a historic agreement between the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) and the province of British Columbia. The agreement, which provides for habitat protection within a framework for sustainable resource management at the watershed scale, creates a system of protected areas the size of Yellowstone National Park and an array of conservation priority areas within a no commercial logging zone of over seven million acres.
It also established a joint governing process that empowers the TRTFN to play a significant role in future resource development decisions around mining and other potential threats to wild salmon in the region. Anticipating and minimizing future environmental damage will help maintain healthy wild salmon populations.