Submitter: Mark Buecker
Community: Pitt Meadows
Date Submitted: May 18, 2011
The attached report concludes that turbidity spikes from large forest fire seasons and storms are the most likely cause of the collapse of Fraser sockeye. Other species of salmon are less affected because they spawn closer to the coast, and have less turbidity to travel through. Sockeye may also be spawning sooner in order to avoid late-summer forest fires.
Sharp Turbidity from Large Forest Fire Seasons and Storms Are the Most Likely Causes of the Pacific Sockeye Salmon Collapse in the Fraser River
To me it’s not a coincidence that large turbidity spikes occur in the Fraser River during the summer, after large forest fire seasons and that this correlates with significantly lower Fraser River Sockeye returns.
To me this is the elephant in the room everyone is ignoring. Please take a hard look at the issues of increased turbidity due to forest fires and storms as the root causes of the collapse of our Fraser river salmon stocks.
Here is part of my conclusion from my statistical analysis report I did for Stat 403:
Three mysteries are present for sockeye salmon. The first being why are they declining, two why are they spawning later, and three why are some salmon species doing better than the sockeye. From doing my report I can say with some certainty that other species of salmon (i.e. pinks, chum and coho) are doing better than sockeye because they spawn closer to the coast than sockeye and therefore have to travel through less turbidity than sockeye salmon. I can also say with some certainty that sockeye are spawning sooner in response to turbidity changes due to forest fires occurring in late summer (and burn into infernos and don’t smolder) instead of the traditional early spring (when they smolder more than burn). Using data analysis on the graphs and scatter plots (without data filtering) I have found evidence that sockeye decline due to forest fires (specifically the sharp turbidity from forest fires) more than any other variable that effect salmon.
I have submitted (Submission 0404) to the Cohen Commission before, after the fall semester, but it was only preliminary results from a presentation. I have completed more in-depth reports in the spring semester for Stat 403 (a statistical analysis report) and Geog 389 (an Op-Ed) at SFU. I have attached both.
Stat 403 – Statistical analysis report
Stat 403 – Appendix 1
Stat 403 – Appendix 2
Stat 403 – Bibliography
Geog 389 – Op-Ed