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Beyond our core programs, GWA applies for external pots of funding each year to address additional needs beyond the scope of our core funding, explore research questions, and conduct shorter-term or exploratory projects specific to outstanding or community-identified needs. One of our main objectives under this umbrella of work is to expand and update our understanding of salmon stocks within our territories and monitor their status as well as the environments that support them. Re-assessing the status of wild salmon populations, habitats and systems through time as environments change is key for us to re-prioritize restoration and protection efforts as pressures to wild salmon also adapt to changing environments and climates.

An ongoing initiative under this project category of Salmon Stock Assessments & Monitoring, is the creation of an updated backgrounder assessment of the Kispiox Watershed titled: Gitksan Territories Salmon and Salmon Habitat Assessment Overview and Communications. This project, beginning in the summer of 2020 is working to:

  • Identify key wild sockeye habitats and populations within the Kispiox Watershed and update their current status
  • Gather and document Gitksan expert voices speaking to the historical to present state of pre-identified salmon populations and habitats. This allows us to identify long-term patterns the systems may be exhibiting, as well as assign cultural values to salmon systems historically and presently important to our Gitksan communities. This component of community engagement further enables community members to identify which natural and human-induced pressures are most critical to salmon health in our territories and further helps us re-prioritize which impacts we as managers should be focusing on. 
  • Do an updated technical assessment of current pressures on wild salmon and salmon habitat in the watershed using provincial data sources.
  • Re-prioritize where our restoration and protection efforts should be focused given the above assessments
  • Provide working documents and assessments for Simgiigyet in the Kispiox Watershed to help inform decision making on their own laxyip.

The above project within the Kispiox Watershed forms a foundational building block which we intend to expand upon in the coming years to encompass the entirety of our Gitksan territories and wild salmon species therein. As an expansion of some of our core objectives at GWA to monitor salmon, salmon habitats, and salmon fishing within our territories, we are driven to restore functionality of natural environments and wild salmon habitats – a key way to preserve the declining health of wild salmon returning to Gitksan territories. The outcomes of this project will focus on information sharing with communities and creating working documents and resources for community access.