Go Deep

Fraser River Estuary

Water Facts

  • It is the largest estuary on the Pacific coast of North America
  • The estuary supports high biodiversity and an extensive food web for marine mammals (endangered southern resident killer whales)
  • The coastal and inland areas from the estuary have been heavily modified by agriculture, industrial, and urban development
  • Over a hundred species of fish and birds are at risk of extinction in the estuary

Water Challenges


Sea-level rise


Saltwater infiltration into freshwater sources




Water contamination from agricultural/urban runoff


A must-read report on climate change in Fraser River Estuary:

(1) Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy (Phase 1 (complete), Phase 2, 3 (In progress). (2016-2022). Fraser Basin Council.

  • Local governments looking at an example of a strategies aimed at reducing flood risks and improving flood resilience of communities susceptible to coastal/riverine flooding

(2) Conservation in heavily urbanized biodiverse regions requires urgent management action and attention to governance. (2021). Kehoe, et al.

  • This study underscores that biodiversity conservation in heavily urbanized areas is not a lost cause but does require strategic planning, attention to governance, and large-scale investment.

Fraser River Estuary Situation Report

The Situation Report provides a state-of-the-moment overview and analysis of Fraser River Estuary’s water conditions, challenges, and emerging issues.

Researcher Profile

  • Dr. Tara Martin

    Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia

    Tara is a Professor in Conservation Decision Science with the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia.


The content of this Go Deep page was written by:

Charmaine White

Food and Agriculture Institute, University of the Fraser Valley

Robert Newell

Royal Roads University & Food and Agriculture Institute, University of the Fraser Valley