Fish passage assessments and habitat confirmations
The goal of this project is to create a shortlist of culverts candidates for restoration of fish passage in the Parsnip River Watershed based on watershed-wide ecological and cultural values, while building capacity, awareness, and momentum for fish passage restoration in the Peace Region. This will be achieved through a data analysis exercise, First Nations input, First Nations training, fish passage assessments, and habitat confirmation assessments. Assessments will follow standardized protocols developed by the Province of B.C., and the Fish Passage Technical Working Group. Data from this project will be entered into the Provincial Stream Crossing Inventory System database (PSCIS).
Update: 14 kilometres of stream assessed
More than 14 linear kilometres of stream habitat have been assessed in the Parsnip River Watershed near Mackenzie. The assessments were carried out over 17 separate streams above 19 culverts—or road crossings—that block passage to bull trout, burbot, Arctic grayling, and mountain whitefish.
Delivered by the Society for Ecosystem Restoration, the project involved monitors from the McLeod Lake Indian Band. They were trained for fish passage assessment and habitat-confirmation procedures, and conducted field surveys.
Culvert restoration in the Parsnip River Watershed will benefit fish by improving fish movement to habitats that offer refuge during high flows, access to food, shelter from predators, and optimal conditions for spawning and rearing.
Final report: executive summary
The health and viability of freshwater fish populations depends on access to tributary and off channel areas which provide refuge during high flows, opportunities for foraging as well as overwintering, spawning and summer rearing habitats. In addition, open migration corridors can facilitate adaptation to the impacts of climate change such as rising water temperatures and changing flow regimes. Culverts can present barriers to fish migration due to increased water velocity, turbulence, a vertical drop at the culvert outlet and/or maintenance issues. There are hundreds of culverts presenting barriers to fish passage in the Parsnip River watershed with some of these structures obstructing fish movement to valuable fish habitat.
Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.