Mercury investigation 2016 – 2017

Project Year: 2016-2017

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Williston Reservoir

Project Lead


Peace Region

Peace Arm

Project Type

Research & Information Acquisition

FWCP Contribution

Action Plan Alignment

Species of Interest Action Plan

Project ID

CO 94934

Mercury in Fish Investigation for Williston-Dinosaur Basins 2016

The purpose of this project is to initiate development and implementation of a sampling plan that will gather enough information to update the mercury public advisory for fish in Williston Reservoir, with meaningful contribution from First Nations communities who fish in its reservoir and tributaries.

The results of this work are also expected to inform the implementation of future actions related to methyl-mercury, as identified in the Reservoirs Action Plan.

Final Report: Executive Summary

The Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) – Peace Region carried out a strategic planning process in 2012-13 to review and identify future program priorities and actions in this region. Guided by a Strategic Planning Group (SPG), which included First Nations, academia, agencies, BC Hydro and members of the FWCP-Peace Board, a Basin Action Plan was finalized in 2014. Objective 3a of the FWCP Peace Action Plan is to “Improve understanding of mercury concentrations, contamination pathways and potential effects on human health and the broader ecosystem.” Initial efforts on this objective were commissioned by FWCP Peace in 2014 and identified the need to obtain updated information on fish mercury concentrations and consumption habits. In 2015, the FWCP-Peace commissioned a multi-year, study to collect fish mercury data from the Parsnip, Peace, Finlay reaches of the reservoir, Dinosaur Reservoir and reference lakes. Results of this investigation will be used to assess the implications for the broader ecosystem and for human health, with the goal of ‘updating’ the fish consumption advisory, in partnership with health agencies, who are responsible for public health advisories.

Azimuth Consulting Group Partnership began this work in May 2016, assigning the scope of work into five tasks, ranging from First Nations involvement and training, collection of fish muscle samples for mercury analysis from discrete areas of the reservoir and liaison with communities to facilitate creel data collection. A summary of progress made on each task is summarized here, followed by a summary of technical findings related to meristics (length, weight, age), mercury concentrations and stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in tissues, by fish species, within Williston Reservoir and relative to reference lakes.

Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.

View more about this project on the provincial database