This Fisheries Sensitive Watershed (FSW) Risk Analysis project was initiated by Lousiana-Pacific Ltd. (Malakwa Division) to prioritize watersheds, basins and sub-basins within the project area for more detailed restoration planning and treatment. The project was funded by the Forest Investment Account (FIA) program. Watersheds covered by the analysis include: Anstey River, Eagle River, Perry River, Seymour River, Yard Creek and Wap Creek.
The project used a recognized GIS indicator-based procedure to assign relative potential risk rankings to each watershed, basin and sub-basin in the study area. The focus was on relative hydrological risk that could have a negative effect on fish and fish habitat. Relative risk was determined using 15 different GIS derived hazard indicators that influenced stream flow, sedimentation and riparian function multiplied by a fish value score for each reporting unit.
The project results identified the Eagle River watershed and Upper Eagle basin as the highest relative risk reporting units in the project area. These were followed by the South Pass Creek sub-basin, Yard Creek watershed and Crazy Creek basin.
Watersheds generally scored higher in the process than basins and sub-basins as a result of higher fish scores in the larger units. This suggests that a watershed level approach is required to manage for fish and fish habitat. Some reporting units with high or very high hazard scores were assigned a relatively low risk. This was due to relatively low fish scores in those units and may indicate a lack of fisheries related information at the basin and sub-basin level, or limited connection between conditions in these units and higher value habitat identified at the watershed level. Where high hazard results occur anywhere within a watershed with a high potential risk rating the connection between the higher hazard areas and high value fish habitat should be an important consideration in restoration planning.
Recommendations are to establish a Fisheries Sensitive Watershed Planning Team for the project area and initiate more detailed restoration planning in the high and very high risk reporting units.
One of two FIA eligible watershed level planning procedures is recommended:
1. Watershed Based Fish Sustainability Planning; or
2. Watershed Restoration Planning and Priority Setting.
Finally, the project identified spatial data inaccuracies between designated FSW boundaries and others with special designation like Community Watersheds, and among FSWs. Government should be made aware of these issues; a single seamless province wide database for use in watershed management is recommended.