The Chinook Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative (CRRI) is a First Nations-led collaborative project of the Fraser Salmon Management Council (FSMC), funded by the BC Salmon Restoration & Innovation Fund (BC SRIF), to support the urgent restoration of depressed Fraser chinook salmon populations.
FSMC brings together 76 signatory First Nations from the Fraser and approach areas, who committed to collaboratively managing Fraser salmon with DFO in the historic 2019 Fraser Salmon Collaborative Management Agreement. That agreement also established the joint (Tier 2) Fraser Salmon Management Board (FSMB), which has identified Fraser chinook rebuilding as a top priority for action.
A foundational premise of CRRI is that more technical collaboration and inclusion of Indigenous interests is required to reverse the current declines and to protect and enhance salmon biodiversity going forward.
The CRRI project will promote and support a strong First Nations leadership role at levels — provincial, regional, watershed and local — in shaping and delivering the work of rebuilding depressed Fraser chinook stocks and driving on-the-ground and policy reforms to ensure their long-term health through sustainable and collaborative management. This will include supporting FSMB’s work as well as new or existing projects led by signatory First Nations and others at the local, regional and provincial levels.
CRRI’s strengths-based approach will bring together and build on the substantial existing body of science research, Indigenous knowledge and capacity, while supporting knowledge exchange and promoting new partnerships, innovation and collaboration opportunities.
CRRI will serve as a convener and intermediary to support and leverage existing efforts, bringing people together to explore new opportunities and solutions, and harness the power of collective action to tackle the complex challenges facing these populations and the fishing communities whose lives, culture and welfare have been so intimately connected to them for generations.
Longer term, CRRI’s intended legacy is to provide the foundation of new and lasting collaborative structures that will persist once the project is complete, ensuring a strong future leadership role for First Nations in supporting and coordinating the work of many parties at many levels to ensure strong, healthy fish populations and sustainable management.
At a Glance
- Project Term: January 1, 2022 – March 31. 2024
- Resources: Funding: BC SRIF; In-Kind Support: FSMC and indigenous partners.
- Host agency/delivery: Fraser Salmon Management Council.
- Project guidance/oversight: Steering Committee led by Project Coordinator Marcel Shepert, lead Biologist Michael Staley, FSMC ED Greg Witzky, Gord Sterritt & FSMB rep Pat Matthew, with technical reps from the Upper Fraser (Shamus Curtis), Mid Fraser (Marc Labelle), Lower Fraser (Aidan Fisher) and Approach (Nicole Frederickson).
Objectives, Role & Tasks
Overarching CRRI Objective
- To advance Fraser chinook rebuilding.
- Provide resources and supports that promote a stronger technical role for Indigenous groups in all aspects of planning, delivery and evaluation of such work.
Building on earlier/current work, CRRI will serve as a convenor, facilitator, coordinator and technical resource to support indigenous efforts and aspirations to lead chinook rebuilding.
- Positioned within FSMC (with its mandate to work with FSMB and JTC to manage at the migratory route scale), CRRI will integrate, complement and support other work at the local, sub-regional and provincial levels, including Chinook Rebuilding work proposed under the FSMB work plan.
- CRRI will serve as a bridge between Indigenous groups (FSMC signatories/ non-signatories) and between Indigenous and other interests and initiatives for chinook rebuilding (JTWG, IRMAs, DFO, SEP, PSF, PSSI, Province of BC).
- CRRI will lay the groundwork for a new model that advances a strong ongoing First Nations leadership role in chinook rebuilding after the project ends in March 2024.
CRRI IS NOT:
- Directly delivering rebuilding projects or competing with those working on such.
- Developing an overall rebuilding framework or indigenous plan for such, but rather supporting others to do so.
Engagement: Building technical collaboration via project guidance/delivery:
- Directly engage individuals and groups to more fully understand and document Indigenous priorities, technical capacity and needs relative to development of a Fraser chinook recovery program and use that insight to guide CRRI implementation.
- Plan and host activities that bring Indigenous technical staff from IRMAs, AAROMs, JTC, JTWG together with DFO and others working on chinook rebuilding (e.g. from academia, volunteer/NGO, government and private sectors) to build relationships and establish a foundation for ongoing collaboration.
Dialogue: Act as a convener facilitating cross learning, networking, problem solving:
- Host CRRI dialogue sessions & present/seek feedback at other venues:
- Provide opportunities for Indigenous groups to learn more about each others’ work, explore common ground, priorities, challenges, gaps and solutions.
- Connect Indigenous and non-Indigenous interests to strengthen collaboration.
- Showcase Indigenous aspirations, capacity and needs to promote a leading role for Indigenous groups in broader work and frameworks for chinook rebuilding.
Focused technical work/exploration: advancing solutions to priority questions:
- Undertake preliminary technical work through individual assignments and focused task groups to explore priority technical questions and prepare background materials to inform development of an Indigenous-led collaborative chinook rebuilding agenda.
Information sharing: technical resource center for chinook rebuilding work:
- Share CRRI findings to raise understanding of Indigenous priorities, capacity, needs and opportunities.
- Develop tools to gather and facilitate sharing of resources to support chinook rebuilding. NOTE: Scope will depend on remaining capacity after priority Tasks 1-3 are covered.
- Final report with recommendations laying out the groundwork for a new model to support a strong ongoing leadership role for Indigenous groups in Southern BC/Fraser chinook rebuilding after CRRI concludes in March 2024.
- Restoring Fraser Chinook – An Overview – D. Levy & R. Bailey Poster Series for CRRI, Nov. 2023
- CSPI Update | Process overview, Updates and Lessons – CRRI Draft Technical Brief, Dec. 2023
- Summary of Approaches to Support Fraser Chinook Rebuilding – D. Levy Technical Memo for CRRI, Nov. 2023
- Context & Opportunities for Collaboration in Fraser Chinook Rebuilding | A Summary of Key Programs, Processes & Initiatives – M. Labelle Technical Brief for CRRI, Nov 2022
- Chinook Strategic Planning Initiative (CSPI) – Final Draft Report, Dec 2018
- CSPI Executive Summary – Final Draft, Nov. 2018
- US Lessons for Salmon Recovery in BC | Draft report (V4) on work in progress by FNFC & PSF to document lessons from US salmon recovery that may be relevant to BC. (For more info, contact Astrid Niemann-Zajac)
Dec 11-12, 2023 | Restoring Fraser Chinook Workshop | Co-hosted with DFO
Nov 28-29, 2022 | Fall Dialogue Session
FSMC is grateful for funding support from the BC Salmon Restoration & Innovation Fund, which makes this work possible.