River Wide : An Uncertain Future for Salmon & the Skeena River

River Wide is a fly fishing film about the Skeena River and a current environmental issue that threatens the entire west coast salmon population; the Petronas (LNG) liquid natural gas facility on Lelu Island at the base of the Skeena River.

 

The estuary is the ecosystem where juvenile salmon make the physiologically challenging transition from fresh-to salt-water. Because all salmon must travel through the estuary, they rely on this habitat, even if they spawn hundreds of kilometers upriver. Thus, a productive and intact Skeena River estuary supports salmon populations that support fisheries that operate throughout the watershed.

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Science has found that estuary ecosystem health is connected to salmon population vitality. Previous research has documented that loss of estuary habitat leads to dramatically lower survival of salmon. A study of 27 estuaries in western North America found that Chinook salmon survival was 1/3 lower in degraded estuaries compared to pristine estuaries.

“If they were trying to find the worst possible site to put it in terms of impacts to salmon and other species, they’ve found it.”

Along with the water and air pollution at the estuary, the pipeline would cross over 1,000 watercourses and with more than 40 ruptures in Canada in the past 25 years, the risk of environmental contamination is high.

LNG facilities also emit nitrogen oxide leading to smog and particulate matter that can cause asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cardiovascular disease and acid rain.

As of October 2, 2015, the Petronas proposal is still moving forward, but is facing enormous resistance from lax Kw’alaams first nations members, who are occupying Lelu Island and exercising their rights to the land.

To learn more about how to block this LNG project from moving into the Skeena watershed add your name to the Lelu Declaration, get informed, get active, talk to your local politicians and share as much as you can.

 


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