Forest Investment Account

Abstract of FIA Project

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Morice WFSP planning linkages and forest licensee support: Morice Watershed-based fish sustainability plan stage II

Author(s): Tamblyn, Gregory C.
Imprint: Nadina, BC : Community Futures Development Corporation of Nadina, 2004
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Fish habitat improvement, British Columbia, Watershed Management
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program


The Morice Watershed-based Fish Sustainability Planning (WFSP) process grew out of a community-based watershed planning process for the Bulkley River watershed. While some WFSPs are formally led by government agencies, the Bulkley-Morice process benefited from external leadership from stakeholder and stewardship groups. In July 2001, Community Futures Development Corporation of Nadina (Nadina) embraced Watershed-based Fish Sustainability Planning in order to complete strategic watershed planning begun by the Bulkley-Morice Salmonid Preservation Group (BMSPG). The BMSPG, an umbrella group of organizations concerned about fish and fish habitat, functioned as the local Fisheries Renewal BC delivery group. Although the BMSPG dissolved following the conclusion of Fisheries Renewal BC, Nadina spearheaded the drive to complete a watershed plan for the Bulkley. The Morice River watershed was chosen as the priority watershed for Stage II WFSP planning following a condensed Stage I process for the Bulkley drainage. The concurrent Skeena Basin Level 1 WFSP, prepared by the Skeena Fisheries Commission, reinforced the need to create a plan for the Morice watershed through recommending Stage II planning for the Morice. Relative to other Stage II WFSPs, the Morice planning area is large, covering 4,349 km2. The Morice watershed, located south-west of Houston, BC, is the largest tributary to the Bulkley River, and is one of the most important fish-producing watersheds in the Skeena drainage. It supports wild populations of steelhead, sockeye, chinook, coho and pink salmon, and a wide variety of resident trout, char, whitefish, sucker, minnow and other species. In addition to their inherent ecological value, these stocks have significant regional social and economic value, supporting commercial, recreational and First Nations fisheries. Extremely valuable fish stocks combined with good opportunities to protect fish habitat favoured the selection of the Morice watershed for Stage II planning. Despite some heavily impacted tributaries, much of the fish habitat and the majority of fish stocks within the Morice are in relatively good condition. However, to delay fish-focused planning would put these valuable stocks at risk. Past fisheries management decisions have significantly influenced fish populations in the watershed and still present risks. Large-scale land use is relatively new to the area, with industrial forestry emerging in the early 1970s. Forestry remains by far the most significant development activity in the watershed, and the largest threat to fish habitat. Anticipated agricultural expansion and acid rock drainage from future mining activity also pose considerable risks to the sustainability of fish populations. The objectives of this report are to provide: A summary of the challenges and successes faced in integrating the Morice WFSP process with other planning processes; Recommendations for improving WFSP linkages to LRMPs and forest plans; and Recommendations for increasing forest licensee investments into WFSPs.

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Updated August 02, 2006 

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