The AFER Network works to address the threats to the Lower Fraser River and estuary by providing an open table for a diversity of voices to share their learnings, increase our understanding and coordination, and ultimately support collaborative work that aims to restore the ecological resilience of the Lower Fraser through a variety of lenses.
The Lower Fraser Region is the lower reach of the Fraser River, which is the largest river on the West Coast of Canada. It has a watershed that drains one third of British Columbia, and is historically the largest salmon-producing river in the world. The delta and estuary of the Fraser River is equally as significant, and at 21,000 hectares it is the largest estuary on the West Coast of North America. All salmon populations that spawn in the Fraser watershed use the estuary as a migration corridor, with many also relying on the lower reach of the river and estuary for spawning and rearing. Besides salmon, the estuary is of critical importance to migratory birds and endangered Southern Resident killer whales.
Importantly, Coast Salish Peoples have been present in the Lower Fraser River and estuary region since time immemorial. The land and biodiversity of the Lower Fraser have rich cultural, social and spiritual ties to the Indigenous Nations of the Lower Fraser, with oral histories recalling the entire formation of the Fraser delta over the last 10,000 years.