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Fraser River: A Critical Analysis

Ecological Significance of Fraser River

Fraser River is deeply connected with the history of Canada which since its discovery by the first residents, the River has contributed greatly to the development of the communities developed along its banks. This not only includes the first residents, but also the later settler dating to the present time.  In spite of continued human intervention, the Fraser River maintains its role as a community developer despite the continued human intervention over the years.

Fraser River stretching over 1375 kilometre from Western side of the Rocky Mountains the Strait of Georgia, is recognised for its flow and its wide variety of flora and fauna. It is home to 5 species of Pacific salmon which include pink, sockeye, Coho, Chinook, and chum. Additionally, it also includes Pacific lamprey, long fin smelt, prickly sculpin, longnose dace and others (Robinson, and Newton). As well, the floral river basin displays tundra, grasslands, coniferous forest, and coastal rainforest, which successively support a wide variety of vegetation that include western hemlock, lodge pole, pine, trembling aspen and others. It also is a home to animals like bighorn sheep, black and grizzly bears, deer, moose, and others. The availability of a wide variety of flora and fauna has been increasingly used by the communities over the years to sustain their livelihood in diverse forms. The best example of this can be found in the fishing community of the country. The sustenance of both the indigenous and non-indigenous fisherman and anglers are heavily dependent on finding the availability of fishes of the salmon especially in the changing weather conditions that affect the migration of the fishes (Padilla et al). 

Looking back at the history of the Fraser River, Macgregor also lists the perception of the river and links it with the cultural value system followed by the first residents. To highlight the socio-cultural significance of the river, the contrast with the early discoverers of the rivers is done, and the perceived vision is brought forth.

“The Fraser is a symbol of life,” he says. “It feeds life. It’s a historical river – a heritage river – that allowed First Nations to survive and prosper along its banks and later allowed others to flourish and provide sustenance. It’s also one of the best salmon rivers on the planet.” (qtd in Macgregor).

Similar statements about the life sustainability aspect of the river is found in the study conducted by Nguyen which highlights the contemporary problem between the native fisherman and the modern anglers.

“salmon are central to everything it means to be indigenous’’ for the First Nations of the Lower Fraser, including the Sto:lo Nation (on whose traditional territories we conducted this research), Musqueam, Tsawwassen, and Tsleil-Waututh” (qtd in Nguyen et al.).

The use, rather the overuse of the river and its resources led to specific problems with the management of the river and its resources. The completion among the fishermen consequently affects the three hydrological zones of the coastal mountain, interior plateau, and the eastern mountains. As pointed out in the study by Padilla et al, “Impoundments of water and river flow regulation in this watershed are often in conflict with ecological, recreational, and cultural value”.


From the presented discussion it can be concluded that the Fraser River indeed plays a crucial role in developing and sustaining the life of the fishing community dependent in the river despite the growing political and economic changes. By allowing access to a wide variety of flora and fauna, Fraser River helps the fishing community to overcome sustenance crisis and meet the basic criteria necessary for livelihood. However, with the increasing climate change, it is important that the focus on consumption and sustainability measured so that the river can repair itself and sustain the different man-made challenges.

Building on the material you included in your annotated bibliography and what you have already written, construct an outline that will direct the rest of your research project. Based on your sources, craft a hypothesis/argument about your body of water: what do you want to say about it? What story do you want to tell?

You need to articulate an argument that will direct your critical voice; your project needs to have a central point. Consider the following elements as you craft your outline: what overall argument do you plan to prove about your body of water?

what sub-topics will you include? (this should also include the paragraph you’ve already written and revised) what images do you plan to include? (include these, with references; these will form your final powerpoint presentation) what specific quotations will you use from each source?

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