Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Fisheries Sensitive Watersheds (FSW) Monitoring Project

Project Reference Number: 2012-02

Project Status: Complete

Led by: Don Morgan, Bulkley Valley Research Centre and BC Ministry of Environment, Smithers, BC

ESSA Technologies Ltd.

Funder: Tides Canada

A coastal cutthroat juvenile assessment in the Lakelse Watershed (MoE)

Project Purpose

This project will build on ongoing pilot work being undertaken in the Skeena’s Lakelse drainage on developing approaches that can be used for monitoring of legally designated Fisheries Sensitive Watersheds. The intent will be to work towards completion of a standardized methodology of both remote-sensed and field-based monitoring of watershed condition that could then be applied broadly throughout the province. This project is relevant to the BC provincial government, as well as to other organizations interested in assessing watershed condition and in understanding the influences of management activities and other drivers on condition. These organizations (i.e., multiple levels of government, industry, academia, and non-government environmental organizations) will be able to take advantage of the products derived from this work. The project will also have national relevance, as it can serve as a template for development of watershed monitoring initiatives elsewhere in Canada. 

Project Strategy and Plan

Values associated with fish and their habitat are recognized in B.C. through the designation of “fisheries sensitive watersheds” (FSW) under the Forest and Range Practices Act’s Government Actions Regulation. Assessing the effectiveness of watershed designations under this regulation, including recognition of the influence of climate change, is critical to the future management and key values hosted in FSWs. Accordingly, the overriding goal of this project is to develop a monitoring protocol that will help managers assess the effectiveness of their watershed management activities today, over-time, and under a changing climate scenario. 

As climate change and other forms of natural and anthropogenic disturbance influence the conditions, including goods and services (e.g. water, fish, forest products, etc.) derived from a watershed, watershed-based monitoring will become an important tool in understanding both the beneficial and adverse consequences of past and future management actions. Monitoring can provide information on watershed stressors and the results of management activities, allowing management actions to be better tailored to alleviate undesirable outcomes and mitigate impacts associated with both management and climate change.

While the original phase of the this project focused on initiation of pilot monitoring in the Lakelse drainage, this additional funding will facilitate further work necessary to increase the efficacy of the protocol and expand its test application to other geographic regions and ecoprovinces within BC.

More Information

Related Reports

Publication Date Report Title Authors
April 2012 Developing a Monitoring Framework for Fisheries Sensitive Watersheds ESSA Technologies Ltd.
May 2012 Climate Change Adaptation Planning for Northwest Skeena Communities Various
May 2012 Developing A Watershed-based Fish Values Monitoring Evaluation Framework Various