Surveying Chinook Salmon spawning areas in the Beaver River watershed to establish conservation strategies for Na-Cho Nyäk Dun FN

The Beaver and Rackla drainages are tributary to the upper Stewart River, located in the boreal mountains of central Yukon and within the traditional territory of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun (NND). Unlike the Mayo River, the Beaver and Rackla Rivers have not been comprehensively and accurately mapped for salmon spawning sites and reaches due to their rugged terrain and remoteness (Brown et al. 2017). Much of the area is alpine tundra and exposed rock, with valley-bottom wetlands and patchy spruce and aspen forests (O’Donoghue et al. 2013). There are no year-round access routes in the area, but mineral staking and exploration have greatly increased the amount of industrial human activity in the watershed since the mid-2000’s. The NND community once used the Beaver and Rackla Rivers as a traditional fishing/hunting route, and are keen to re-engage because they have strong concerns for overall Chinook Salmon stocks in their territory and the potential impacts of a new road and mineral exploration and development on spawning areas within the watershed.