Where We Work
The expansive, pristine forests and rivers of the Khabarovsk Region are an ecological crossroads for a diverse array of wildlife.
The expansive, pristine forests of the Khabarovsk region are an ecological crossroads where one can find temperate species such as Siberian tiger, Himalayan bear, and giant Blakiston's fish owl, along with northern Arctic species like moose and the Steller's sea eagle. Khabarovsk offers one of the largest remaining expanses of unfragmented temperate rainforest in the North Pacific. The rivers of the Khabarovsk region flow from the headwaters of the Amur east into the Sea of Okhotsk and host a rich assemblage of salmon, char and taimen species.
Although Khabarovsk is relatively remote, salmon there are still exposed to threats from human activities. Legal and illegal timber harvest, catastrophic forest fires, and gold mining, all contribute to damaging salmon habitat. Illegal hunting and fishing are considered the strongest threats to the watershed. Creation of protected areas and efforts to reduce poaching are important strategies for preserving this rich salmon watershed.
The Wild Salmon Center, in partnership with the Khabarovsk Wildlife Foundation (KWF), is working to advance the conservation of salmon ecosystems and build local conservation capacity in the Khabarovsk Region and Shantar Islands. WSC and KWF have collaborated to create four wild salmon protected areas in the Khabarovsk Region over the past several years: the Koppi River, Shantar Islands, Nimelen River, and Tugur River.
The Koppi River Basin with over 94,000 acres of pristine wilderness was granted permanent legal protection status, and plans are underway to establish a watershed council to facilitate its effective stewardship. The Shantar Islands along with the Nimelen and Tugur rivers are in the process of obtaining protected status. The Shantar Islands National Park will protect a distinctive mixture of plant communities and wildlife on the islands and the surrounding marine environment. Work has begun to create a Federal Fishery Protection Zone (FFPZ) on the Nimelen River. The FFPZ is a new designation mandated by Russian fishery law offering protections for Russian salmon strongholds. The Tugur River watershed in the central Khabarovsk region will also become a protected site with nearly 200,000 acres of undisturbed wilderness.
Building conservation capacity
WSC has worked on salmon conservation in the Russian Far East since the late 1990's. Together with Russian partners, WSC has conducted assessments of the diversity of species, habitat quality, and conservation potential of eleven priority river basins in the Khabarovsk region and surrounding areas. WSC supports grassroots initiatives of local NGOs, which share the vision for healthy salmon rivers across the North Pacific.
Sharing knowledge across borders
Wild Salmon Center develops proactive models of international cooperation to achieve conservation gains significant at local, regional, and global scales. WSC supports and organizes professional exchanges, seminars, and trainings where partners share best practices in governance of protected areas, public and private salmon conservation efforts, habitat restoration, and resource management at the local, state, and federal levels.