All posts by Christina

Porcupine Community-based Salmon Management Plan

This project is a follow-up to the Restoration and Enhancement funded Porcupine Drainage Engagement: Gathering, Mapping and Integrating Local and Traditional Knowledge (LTK) for Community-based Stock Restoration Planning. The Porcupine River Community-based Salmon Management Plan will work with the community values, LTK, priorities, management suggestions and overall information that resulted from the year 2016-17 Porcupine Drainage Engagement. Goals are to:
1) Develop a Porcupine River Community-based Salmon Management Plan.
2) Develop a Community-based Salmon Management Planning Template for other communities to utilize.

Stewart River Sonar Pilot Program

The government of the First Nation of the Na-Cho Nyak Dun (NND) is proposing to conduct a site search to locate up to three candidate sites for the development of sonar based Chinook salmon stock assessment program on the lower Stewart River, downstream of the mouth of the McQuesten River. This project will include testing of sonar system on the lower Stewart River, at the selected candidate sites.

The goal of this project is to begin the development of a Chinook salmon stock assessment program on the lower Stewart River, for the purpose of determining annual Chinook salmon escapement into the Stewart River and its major spawning tributaries. The primary objective of this project is to evaluate the potential for the use of sonar as a stock assessment method to enumerate Chinook salmon in the lower Stewart River.



Yukon River Chinook Salmon Stock Restoration Education Initiative

The goal of the Stock Restoration Initiative is to deliver a comprehensive one week salmon restoration educational workshop that leads to an informed group of Yukon Territory First Nation government representatives that will subsequently engage in stock restoration efforts, increasing territory wide capacity and focus interest on effective restoration principles and practice. This intends to meet the Near Term Priority of the Communications envelope to increase the desire of the public to maintain and protect stocks by better enabling and engaging representatives from around the territory. The initiative will bring experienced restoration experts to Whitehorse to provide lectures on their respective habitat and hatchery oriented restoration practices and use local stream habitats to provide on the ground examples of evaluations and opportunities for habitat restoration or enhancement. These experts will provide an overview of their experience including challenges and considerations for achieving successful projects and developing programs for stock restoration.

Southern Lakes Chinook Salmon Restoration and Enhancement

The Carcross/ Tagish First Nation (CTFN) has a long history of cultural connections and subsistence interaction with Yukon River Chinook salmon. There are documented accounts of adult Chinook salmon in the Tagish River system between Marsh Lake and Tagish Lake and elsewhere in the southern lakes system, including at the bridge in Carcross. Residents, CTFN citizens and commercial fishers have caught Chinook salmon in the past within this system and in the summer of 2014 CTFN Heritage, Lands and Natural Resources department (HLNR) caught two adult male Chinook salmon in one net that had been set at Deep Bay near the southern end of Tagish Lake. This catch provides the furthest upstream record, as well as the most recent account of Chinook salmon activity within the Southern Lakes.
This project will research and document through an Environmental Scan, the historical and traditional knowledge of where salmon were historically caught and their spawning areas in the Southern Lakes up-river of Marsh Lake.
CTFNs long term goal is to have substantially more salmon using traditional spawning grounds up-river of Marsh Lake and ultimately in the Yukon River. This project is one component of a larger overall project designed to identify and characterize Chinook salmon spawning sites in the Southern Lakes, up-river of Marsh Lake, with the long-term objective of restoring and enhancing the productivity of those sites. CTFN’s objective for the work outlined in this R&E proposal, is to understand the historical distribution and relative abundance of Chinook in the upper reaches of the Yukon River watershed through the collection of historical data and traditional knowledge. Other components of the overall project will use that data to assist in identifying and characterizing existing and historical spawning sites.

Yukon Fisheries Field Assistance Program

Yukon Fisheries Field Assistant Program is designed to meet Territorial needs for certified skilled fisheries workers. The Yukon River Panel’s Restoration and Enhancement Fund make monies available for community-initiated fisheries projects within the Yukon River drainage. However, there is often a shortage of qualified individuals to work on these projects. There is also an increasing need for technical capacity and technical skills related to conservation concerns of Yukon River salmon, and for First Nations to participate directly in data collection. This project directly addresses these needs by making training opportunities more readily available.





Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Student Steward

This project aims to provide the opportunity for a youth from the community to gain hands on learning of traditional and conventional conservation and stewardship methodologies which will help substantially to create and promote awareness towards the activities involved in by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Government and by other local salmon restoration, management and enhancement projects. Local knowledge will also be incorporated into the student’s weekly activities.

Beginning in early June the student steward is provided with safety training before entering the field to ensure a safe summer. Support from the Student Steward carries a wide array of salmon related responsibilities which assist the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Fish and Wildlife Coordinator and Steward. At this time of year, the department is gearing up for the upcoming First Fish, which is an anticipated event for the youth and all involved. Preparation for the First Fish includes untangling gills nets, attaching lines for anchors, repairing the nets, boat preparation, bear and ATV safety. Other R & E projects in the area will be incorporated into the student steward’s work plan. Such projects could include the First Fish, the Klondike River Sonar Project and the DDRRC Rearing and Overwintering Access Restoration project.


Yukon River Salmon Stewards Summit

Over the past few years there has been increased concern by Yukon First Nations and other salmon users regarding the decline of sustainably harvestable salmon that reach the Yukon and the continued conservation of Yukon River salmon stocks. At the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) General Assembly in 2010 there was a resolution passed to seek funding for CYFN to host a Yukon River Salmon Summit for Yukon First Nations. There is a great and urgent desire by Yukon First Nations within the Yukon River drainage to meet, discuss, and create a strategic plan with the focus on conservation, education, and increased information sharing between First Nations, salmon users, and salmon management bodies.

Information about: the role of salmon management bodies, proposed Yukon salmon management recommendations (ie. letting the first pulse pass), involvement in salmon organizations (eg. The Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association cultural exchange and in-season conference calls), harvesting techniques (eg. implications of various mesh sizes on salmon stocks), current and proposed First Nations conservation & monitoring programs (eg. Ta’an Kwach’an Council’s water temperature monitoring program), and suggested educational initiatives (eg. proposing a youth writing contest regarding salmon conservation and to be advertised in the schools) will be presented.

Klondike River Sonar Project

The primary objective of this project is to enumerate the 2011 Chinook salmon escapement into the Klondike River system. A site 4.5 km upstream of the mouth of the Klondike River was selected during a Klondike River sonar feasibility study in July 2008 and May 2009. This site was chosen for the 2009 and 2010 projects and is again the designated site for the proposed 2011 project. This location has a total wetted river width of approximately 53 m with a maximum depth of approximately 2 meters. The cross section profile at this location is conducive to providing complete ensonification of the water column with no acoustic shadows or blind spots.

The Klondike River is considered to be a suitable Chinook salmon escapement index stream using high definition sonar because:
1. It is accessible;
2. It has documented significant Chinook escapements;
3. It is recognized as a genetically unique and identifiable stock;
4. It is unlikely that co-migrating similar sized fish species will be present;
5. It has discharge volumes too high for a conventional salmon counting fence but low enough during periods of Chinook passage to allow complete ensonification of stream width;
6. The Klondike River Chinook stock is one of the earlier temporal segments of the above border Yukon River Chinook run.
7. Chinook were successfully enumerated using a DIDSON sonar on the Klondike River in 2009 and 2010.

In addition, we will sample post-spawn fish for age-sex-length data and obtain genetic stock identification (GSI) samples.





Teslin River Sonar Project – Community Communication and Project Presentation

Brian Mercer and Associates, in possible cooperation with the Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC), will conduct an outreach and communication project in Teslin Yukon. The targeted audience for this project are community members interested in the biology, conservation and management of Teslin River Chinook salmon.

A Power Point presentation on the set up, operation and results of the Teslin River Sonar Project will be prepared and presented in the Teslin community by Brian Mercer. The methods and results of the Teslin River sonar project will be presented in the context of the overall biology, conservation, utilization and management of the Teslin River Chinook stocks. An attempt will be made to construct the Power Point presentation in a format that could be used in a classroom.


Temperature Monitoring of Alaskan and Canadian Yukon Tributaries

This project aims to build from work conducted in 2010 and 2011 supported by the R&E Fund. We plan to continue monitoring the temperature of 10 sites established in 2011 and will add six new sites in 2012. At each monitoring site, data loggers will be installed and calibrated following a standardized protocol (see Dunham et al. 2005; von Finster 2010). Each site will have two HOBO Pro v2 water temperature data loggers and two iButtons deployed in order to assure redundancy of equipment and protect against data loss. We will also evaluate the difference between logger types for potential cost savings in long term monitoring. Each data logger will be programmed to record water temperature hourly (on the hour), 24 hours per day, seven days per week, from the time of deployment until retrieval. Data loggers will be in place in most sites from May until September, but may be removed earlier if projects end for the season. All data will be entered into the publicly accessible database Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) constructed in 2010, with the potential to use any observed temperature data in future analyses for Yukon salmon management.

Water temperature has been shown to influence adult spawning success, egg survival, and post-hatchling developmental processes (Geist et al. 2006). Because of temperature’s importance to salmon survival and development coupled with effects of climate change, there is a need to develop a standardized water temperature monitoring program throughout the Yukon River Basin region. Although water temperature is already measured for several escapement monitoring sites through Alaska and the Yukon Territory, much of the available temperature data is not comparable statistically due to inconsistent sampling protocols (e.g. time series do not overlap, differing equipment).