Acidification of the Fraser River due to Urbanization in Vancouver British Columbia and Potential Impact on Salmon Migration

  • Uzair Ahmed
  • Andy Chang
  • Caleb Ritchie


Salmon in BC migrate from the ocean and move up the Fraser river to spawn. Salmon, as well as other aquatic species, thrive in water with pH ranging from 6 – 8. In this experiment, water and soil acidity were examined at different locations along the Fraser River in Richmond, Surrey, and Langley with the objective of observing any effect of the local level of urbanization. It was hypothesized that urban areas would measure lower pH than the rural areas. pH measurements were collected on two different locations, urban and rural within each city and a T-test was performed for each of the three pairs of data to confirm statistical significance indicated by Two-way ANOVA. The results showed a statistically significant decrease in acidity for urban Surrey at a confidence level of 0.05, but not for Langley and Richmond. Differences between cities was observed, but these differences were not statistically significant with the exception of urban Langley and urban Surrey. We conclude that local differences in urbanization do not cause a measureable increase in acidity in the Fraser River.