Large Salmon Watersheds and Industrial Development: Tools and Lessons Learned from Watersheds Across Western North America to Inform Salmon Conservation and Management in the Face of Cumulative Stressors

Large salmon watersheds of Western North America provide extensive habitat for all five Pacific salmon species, as well as many other fish species. These fish can be of great cultural, ecological and economic importance to the peoples and ecosystems of these river basins. Some of these watersheds are relatively pristine while others have experienced decades of industrial development that have eroded their connectivity and productivity. Large watersheds at the forefront of new industrial development (e.g., the Skeena with numerous liquefied natural gas terminals, pipelines, and other developments proposed for the basin) are at a critical juncture and are poised to embark on an experiment in salmon conservation and industrialization at a grand scale. Other large watersheds in Western North America have experienced similar conservation and resource development challenges, developed tools to address them, and learned lessons about essential ingredients to balance conservation and industrial interests and manage the cumulative effects of development activities on salmon ecosystems. The objectives of this symposium are to bring together scientists and policy makers from academia, governments, non-profits and First Nations to share their perspectives on: (1) tools needed within relatively pristine watersheds (e.g., Skeena) to assess status of salmon and their habitats exposed to cumulative stressors so as to inform decision-making in the face of uncertainty, and (2) lessons learned from watersheds that have already incurred industrial development (e.g., the Columbia Basin and Bristol Bay) about the successes and failures of different alternative science and management approaches.
Marc Porter
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