Forest Investment Account

Abstract of FIA Project 2202005

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Field Stream Classification (Poulin) for the Fort Nelson District - testing an experimental Procedure for Risk Managing Streams

Author(s): Poulin, Vince A.
Subject: British Columbia, Fishery, Forestry, Inventory
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program - Innovative


This project is a continuation of a study that began in 2002/2003 to develop a field methodology for use by forest technicians to classify and stratify streams in the Fort Nelson Forest District. The intent of the project is to determine if standard fish stream measurements, 'habitat criteria' could allow them to identify streams with a low probability of use by fish. Enabling that determination would thereby make it possible for them to eliminate the requirement for vast numbers of small streams that lack fish habitat from subsequent survey by fisheries specialists. Conversely, the methodology would provide the basis for determining which streams require sampling or where habitat values are so overwhelmingly high, that in all probability, further sampling was not necessary. The benefit cost of such a strategy to forest operations is immense. Forest technicians and staff already survey blocks. They cross each stream and complete stream profiles that establish location and other facts concerning the potential classification of a stream. Past inventories found sport fish at 21% of sites sampled and of those, only 13% contained arctic grayling (Poulin 2003). Arctic grayling were the only sport fish present in streams of the size encountered in operational areas. A few mountain whitefish and bull trout appear in the inventory, but all occupied in the largest streams sampled. These data suggest it is only reasonable that some methodology should allow forest technicians to isolate a large portion of the non-fish bearing streams and thereby reduce the high cost of unnecessary fish stream surveys.
With the new Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) companies will soon operate under Forest Stewardship Plans. These plans allow each company to manage land using professional accountability and risk management. With FRPA, companies will work with professionals to develop new procedures and practices that meet the stewardship goals of the Act. This project embodies in every respect the opportunities made possible by FRPA. It is (a) stream classification tool developed by forest companies, for forest companies to risk manage streams.
The study is one of two projects of its kind; each conducted by V.A. Poulin & Associates Ltd. The second project is underway in the Dawson Creek Forest District (Poulin et al. 2003). The projects share the same objectives and methodology. However, they address different target fish species due to their geographical locations and employ slightly different test models due to differences in the parameters that predict fish use. The ability to work in both Districts has contributed significantly to the success of each project.

For further information, please contact Darrell Regimbald, Canadian Forest Industries Ltd. - Fort Nelson Woodlands (

Updated September 08, 2005 

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