The Nass Area: Cumulative Pressures on Salmon Habitat
Through direction from the Nisga’a Lisims Government, and in collaboration with the Gitanyow, Gitxsan, and Lax Kw'alaams First Nations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BC Ministry of Environment, ESSA Technologies, and other local experts, the Pacific Salmon Foundation coordinated an assessment of landscape-scale pressures and the resulting risks to salmon habitat in the Nass Area of northern British Columbia.
The “Nass Area” encompasses the Nass River watershed along with watersheds draining into Portland Canal and Observatory Inlet. Specific project objectives were to develop map-based habitat report cards that:
- Summarize the relative extent and intensity of current pressures on freshwater habitats used by key life-history stages (migration, spawning, rearing) for each Nass salmon CU in relation to defined indicator benchmarks;
- Summarize the relative vulnerability of habitats used by Nass salmon CUs during the different life-history stages posed by these pressures.
Collectively, the report cards provide a snapshot of the current risks to salmon habitat in the Nass Area from different human and environmental pressures. This type of coarse-scale assessment is useful for building a common understanding of the degree of stress to key salmon habitats and for identifying strategies for alleviating those stresses.