Salmon have a big influence on the health of our ecosystem – including the cities we live in – so the reverse is really no surprise. Urban, industrial, recreational and agricultural development all potentially have a huge impact on salmon and salmon habitat.

Now a certification program known as Salmon Safe gives urban developers and agricultural producers a path to protecting salmon habitat. Businesses that sign up commit to a rigorous screening process before receiving their certification.

Vancouver’s airport, YVR, was the first commercial business in BC to receive the Salmon Safe stamp of approval and now a major residential development underway on the North Shore waterfront has also made a commitment. Concert, the Canadian real estate company developing the project,  has become part of Salmon Safe’s Urban Development Standards program. It’s part of Concert’s overall focus on sustainability, (which includes supporting our VR summer series to help make it free to the public!)

North Harbour will be one of the first residential projects to receive Salmon safe certification. The aim is to demonstrate environmental stewardship, by minimizing the impact of development on sensitive aquatic resources, and the enhancement of salmon habitat.

In both design and construction, items such as the impact on water quality and marine habitat are taken into account, and requirements for certification focus on stormwater management, the quality of the run-off from the site, and landscaping that will minimize impervious surfaces such as pavement. The results are audited by independent subject area experts as part of the certification process.

When it comes to agricultural producers, farm are evaluated on how food production practices affect salmon habitat both directly and indirectly. Salmon Safe teams visit onsite, as well as analyzing the information provided by farmers.

Another feature of the agricultural program is identifying salmon safe products for consumers, and you can find more about available products here.

The Salmon Safe program is delivered by the Fraser Basin Council, a non-profit umbrella organization that includes multiple levels of government, First Nations and other public and private participants.

photo credit: ソキ