It’s not too late to save 102 at-risk species in the Fraser River estuary from extinction, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.
But the research, published this week in the journal Conservation Science and Practice, warns the province currently lacks an overarching plan to protect them.
“If we don’t act quickly, many species, including species of salmon and southern resident killer whales, are likely to be functionally extinct in the next 25 years,” senior author and conservation science professor Tara Martin said.
Martin and her team brought together more than 65 experts in the ecology and management of the estuary’s species.
Using a framework they developed called Priority Threat Management, the team identified and assessed a variety of conservation actions, looking at both cost and feasibility.
The study recommended the development of a co-governance body, including First Nations, provincial, federal and municipal governments, along with non-governmental organizations as a key to the feasibility of conservation in urban areas.
“The price tag is $381 million over 25 years, or $15 million a year, and invests in strategies ranging from aquatic habitat restoration and transport regulation to green infrastructure and public land management,” lead author Laura Kehoe said.
“This amounts to less than $6 per person a year in Greater Vancouver — the price of a single beer or latte.”
The work would also generate about 40 full-time jobs, while protecting salmon fishery and whale watching industry, worth an estimated $300 million and $26 million respectively per year.