The Fraser River Basin covers roughly one-quarter of British Columbia's area and contains many of the province's most important economic and ecological resources. Most of B.C.'s human population, commercial forestry, metal mine production and farmland occur within the Fraser Basin, as well as a large proportion of the province's wildlife. Over 60% of B.C.'s salmon breed in the Fraser River and its tributaries. .
The human population of the Fraser River watershed, especially in the lower basin, continues grow at one of the highest rates in Canada. Over the last hundred years expanding urbanization and development (i.e., industrial, agricultural and forestry) have placed ever-growing pressures on the river and its adjacent ecosystems. Habitat destruction and contamination, coupled with continued pressure from fishing, have contributed to severe reductions in many of the Fraser River's world-renowned salmon runs.
In an attempt to address the deterioration of the Fraser River and its salmon stocks, the Government of Canada initiated the Fraser River Action Plan (FRAP) in June 1991. FRAP was conceived as a six-year, $100 million Green Plan initiative to be undertaken jointly by the Departments of Environment (DOE) and Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), each of whom was to administer half of the program's funding.
The Fraser River Action Plan was originally developed with three distinct components: Building Partnerships, Cleaning Up Pollution, and Restoring the Productivity of the Natural Environment.
In Building Partnerships A major objective of FRAP was to change the way that DFO manages and regulates activities which affect fish and fish habitat in the Fraser River watershed. In other jurisdictions, DFO is one of a number of government agencies at different levels, which regulate land and water use in relative independence from each other and from stakeholder groups. DFO-FRAP's Partnership component was undertaken to foster a more coordinated approach to environmental management in the Fraser River Basin.