Category: 2013

2013 Fund Project

Yukon River North Mainstem Stewardship

Our goal is the development and maintenance of community capacity in the Dawson City region to protect, maintain and restore salmon stocks and habitats. Each year, two local high school students who have not participated in the project in past years are hired as Student Stewards. They work under the field supervision of an experienced elder and the technical guidance of a retired DFO biologist, and are provided with a wide range of hands-on training through participation in a variety of salmon and salmon habitat management and research activities. Proposed activities include the monitoring of 0+ Chinook salmon growth and habitat utilisation, ground water fed rearing channel habitat monitoring, riparian restoration principles, and ground truthing of placer maps. Depending on environmental conditions, 0+ Chinook fry salvage and access restoration may take place, and we may partner with DFO as we have in the past to conduct genetic analysis on some 0+ Chinook. The context of any activities undertaken will be explained to the Student Stewards so that they are given an opportunity not only to understand what they are doing, but why they are doing it.
At the end of the funded field work component of the project, the Student Stewards will demonstrate their acquired skills and knowledge to children and community members in a Public Involvement Day. Opportunities will be sought to increase the exposure of the project through the local media and in presentations to the public.

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McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project – MCSIP

Tanks for all the fish

A lot more Chinook salmon will soon be raised at the McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Facility. The Whitehorse hatchery has seen $60,000 in upgrades as well as a new tank design which more closely mimics nature. Philippe Morin took a tour.More: www.cbc.ca/1.3633022

Posted by CBC Yukon on Monday, June 13, 2016

Video Source: CBC

The McIntyre Creek Salmon Incubation Project (MCSIP) is a groundwater sourced, gravity-fed salmon incubation facility capable of rearing fish from egg-take through to tagged and release-ready stage. The facility has functioned for nearly 20 years, collecting salmon broodstock from the wild, fertilizating and incubating eggs, rearing and feeding  juveniles, adipose fin clipping and inserting coded-wire tags (CWTs) in preparation for release into the wild. In previous years MCSIP has focused on enhancement and fostering of stewardship through the rearing and release of Yukon River Chinook salmon juveniles back into natal streams, as well as stock restoration of depopulated streams undergoing stock restoration. For example, Whitehorse Rapids Fishway eggs have primarily been used to re-stock Fox Creek as part of Ta’an Kwäch’än First Nation’s (TKFN) Fox Creek Salmon Stock Restoration Project. MCSIP provides facilities for the initial incubation of small numbers of other salmon eggs which are destined for classroom incubation projects as part of the Stream to Sea Program, and has served as a test site to refine the use of heath stack incubators and thermal marking units, which have been developed at the site.

MCSIP was initially founded as a stewardship and enhancement project, and continues to be a significant resource for Yukon River salmon. MCSIP focuses on two main target groups within the larger community; first nations interested in stock restoration of depopulated chinook salmon streams (e.g. TKFN), and students. Both elementary and Yukon College students use MCSIP as part of their educational experience. Renewable Resources Management 134: Introduction to Salmon Hatcheries and Related Fisheries Practices is a course developed with and for MCSIP. Yukon College students also provide paid labor and management of the day-to-day operation of the hatchery during the school year, providing even more practical training and responsibility. This hands-on experience has proven very valuable for student’s ongoing education and work careers.

 

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CRE-25-97 Mcintyre Chinook Incubation Project

 

Yukon River Chinook Salmon Subsistence Harvest Sampling and GSI

An understanding of the total harvest of both U.S. and Canadian-origin Yukon River Chinook salmon is necessary in order to address harvest sharing objectives outlined in the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Important subsistence fisheries occur in Alaska across six distinct fishery management districts on the Yukon River, and stock composition of the subsistence harvest varies among these districts because of differences in harvest timing, location, and gear used.

Complete information on these harvests is critical for creating Canadian-origin Chinook salmon brood year tables and run reconstructions, which form the basis of the spawner-recruit models used to estimate past and future run productivity and help establish escapement goals for Canadian-origin Chinook salmon. These data also help managers understand the effects of management actions and fishing gear on harvest composition. The objective of this proposal is to collect representative genetic stock identification information, coupled with age, sex, and length data, from the Chinook salmon subsistence harvest in Districts 1 through 5.

This project began in 2009 at the Tanana Chiefs Conference, and has been funded by the Yukon River Panel Restoration & Enhancement Fund since 2012. As in previous programs, sampling will be done by local community members under the supervision of biologists and in accordance with ADF&G sampling protocols. Participants will be paid for the samples they collect in order to encourage participation in the program. ADF&G will receive the raw data and estimate age, sex, length and stock composition of the subsistence Chinook salmon harvests from Districts 1-5. A brood table will be published annually for the Joint Technical Committee, and a separate report will be provided that documents the data collection, harvest composition, and comparisons to historical patterns.

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Salmon Stewardship Coordinators for Yukon Schools

This program was formerly funded by the Yukon River Panel and managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The project as proposed will now be lead by a local Whitehorse consultant. The consultant will serve as the Salmon Stewardship Coordinator, and the program will place Salmon Stewards in Yukon communities to assist teachers with the delivery of DFO’s Stream to Sea program to all interested Yukon Schools and learning centres. The Coordinator will work closely with the Salmon Stewards to provide support to teachers in Yukon River salmon education activities, including aquarium incubation set-up, operation and maintenance; salmon ecology and biology; and/or participate in egg takes that can be facilitated near community schools. These hands on activities with youth have been identified as key near term Stewardship priority, and over the duration of the project, the coordinators will be responsible for continuing to build capacity within the schools and seek support from key community members to allow for the continuation of the Stream to Sea program.

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Yukon River Pre-Season Planning Process

The project goal is to conduct public outreach to an adult audience of active Yukon River fishers to build a more aware public constituency that is motivated to maintain and protect salmon stocks of Canadian origin. Over the past ten years the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association (YRDFA) has hosted a one-day meeting to discuss pre-season planning for the management of declining Canadian origin Chinook salmon, fall chum and other important issues related to the upcoming fishing season. Meeting attendees include Tribal Council representatives, state and federal fisheries management agencies and other Yukon River fishery stakeholders. The meetings are a necessary annual event convening stakeholders, representing a majority of Yukon River fishing communities along the Alaskan portion of the Yukon River, with Alaskan agency fishery managers to discuss how to protect Canadian origin Chinook and fall chum salmon and meet other management goals.

This project has demonstrated that outreach through face-to-face meetings with the Yukon River public has led to increased community partnership with fisheries managers in their management efforts to conserve Canadian origin Chinook salmon.

CC-03-19. Yukon River Pre & Post Season Planning M...

CC-03-18. YRP R&E Summer Prep Final Report

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CC-03-12 Yukon River Summer Preparedness Process

CC-03-11 Summer Season Preparedness Final Report

 

 

Chinook Salmon Sonar Enumeration on the Big Salmon River

This project, which has been running at this site since 2005 and funded by the Restoration and Enhancement Fund since 2011, operates a sonar station on the Big Salmon River using a long range dual frequency identification sonar (DIDSON) to enumerate the Chinook salmon escapement each year, and conducts spawning ground sampling to obtain biological information on the stock. The goal of the project is to provide a long term dataset for inter-annual stock strength, run timing, ASL composition, and annual escapement estimates (for the Big Salmon and the Yukon Rivers) in addition to verifying the accuracy of the genetic proportions from Eagle.

The program works closely with the Juvenile Chinook Out-migrant Assessment Study and the Sonar Program in Eagle, Alaska.

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CRE-41-18. 2018 Big Salmon Chinook Sonar Report

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CRE-41-16 2016 Big Salmon Chinook Sonar Report

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Blind Creek Chinook Salmon Enumeration Weir

Blind Creek is a significant Chinook salmon spawning stream flowing into the Pelly River, approximately 10 km southeast of the Town of Faro. Since 1995, a weir has been operated here annually (with the exception of 2001 and 2002) to enumerate Chinook salmon returns. Each season, a weir is installed and operated at the same location to enumerate Chinook salmon escapement and to conduct live sampling to obtain biological information from the stock. The weir project also provides a salmon viewing opportunity and on-site interpretation of the salmon resource and management programs for local residents and visitors. The goals of the project are: a) to provide a long term data set of information on a Chinook spawning population in the proposed Pelly River Conservation Unit and b) to increase public awareness of salmon management programs and conservation. This project will build on the information obtained from the 2003 to 2015 Blind Creek weir projects.

CRE-37-18. 2018 Blind Creek Chinook Salmon Enumera...

CRE-37-17 Blind Creek Final Report 2017

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Genetic Stock Identification of Canadian-origin Yukon River Chinook and Chum Salmon

This project, which has been running since 2002, describes the stock composition of chum and Chinook salmon returning up the Yukon River to Canada. It estimates what proportion of these fish return to each of the genetically-identifiable stocks (by natal stream). Though monitoring of the aggregate is practical and the basis for much of the management, it is equally important to understand status and trends at the population level. Given the size of the Yukon River watershed and the climatic variation found within it, salmon populations within the watershed may experience significant differences.

The effectiveness of this project is closely tied to the development and refinement of the genetic baseline and the number of samples obtained from the Eagle Sonar Site. As more genetic samples are collected and analyzed from Eagle, the sampling error decreases and the estimates of stock compositions are made more reliable. There are two principal uses of the GSI information collected. The first is in assessing how genetic information compares to traditional stock assessment information. Fishery managers often rely on index stocks to understand both status and trends in particular populations or stocks, and for Yukon River salmon, many terminal escapement assessments are carried out each year (e.g., using sonars, aerial surveys, and counting weirs), which can be costly and logistically challenging, and typically assess only one population at a time. When combined with sonar counts, genetic proportion estimates can be expanded to provide escapement estimates for particular populations. The second is that the information in aggregate can be used to estimate the productivity of each population of Canadian-origin salmon. This type of information is critical to local management planning and is of great interest to First Nation governments and communities as they seek greater information on the fish that return to their traditional territory. Projects focused on stock restoration also need to understand which stocks are currently highly productive and which are not.

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CRE-79-08 Yukon Chinook and Chum Stock ID Report

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Fishing Branch River Chum Habitat Assessment

The Fishing Branch River is a major spawning destination for Porcupine River chum salmon. Past R&E work has indicated that in excess of 65% of chum salmon in the upper Porcupine River have been known to spawn in the upper reaches of the river, above the site of the DFO enumeration weir. The 2011 Integrated Fisheries Management Plan developed by DFO and the Yukon River Panel included an escapement goal of 20,000 to 49,000 chum salmon at the Fishing Branch weir. However, since 2006, counts at the weir have been displaying a downward trend and fallen within the lower end of, or below this range during the last several years. In addition, recent chum salmon returns at the Fishing Branch weir have been lower relative to Yukon River border escapement than historical returns, despite active in-season harvest management.

The overall objective of this project is to collect baseline information on chum salmon spawning ecology in the Fishing Branch which may help to explain the decline in the stock and/or inform potential restoration activities for chum in the watershed.

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Ta’an Kwäch’än Family Fish Camp

Video Source: YukonSalmon.org

Yukon River Salmon are highly valued by Yukon First Nation people as part of a healthy heritage, culture,environment and way of life. Chinook salmon (gyu – Southern Tutchone) is an important component of identity and figures prominently in stories, history, diet, traditional activities and conservation efforts. Educating citizens about selective fishing encourages people to continue fishing, while addressing conservation concerns and promoting a viable First nations fishery.

TKC is an urban based First Nation with a demonstrated need for structured programs, such as family fish camp, to teach the younger generation traditional ways in a modern context, in an environment where Elders, youth and families share time and learn cooperatively from one another.

In order to meet with TKC’s mission and vision statements for the “preservation, balance, and harmony of our traditional territory” and to “honor, respect, protect and care for our environment, people, economy and traditional culture as practiced by our elders” the family fish camps are vital in order to fulfill this need.

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