Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y071057

    Developing a Science-Based Framework to Identify and Designate 'Temperature Sensitive Streams' for Sustainable Riparian Forest Management in the BC Interior
Project lead: Nelitz, Marc
Author: ESSA Technologies Ltd.
Imprint: Vancouver, BC : ESSA Technologies Ltd., 2007
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Streams, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
The BC Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) allows for the designation of 'Temperature Sensitive Streams' (TSS) to protect critical fish-bearing streams from thermal impacts due to forestry activities. A TSS includes S4, S5 or S6 streams that either currently have temperatures high enough to cause negative impacts on in-stream or down-stream fish populations or communities, or could have such temperatures if forest operations were to take place in the riparian zone that provides stream shading. These streams do not have mandatory riparian reserves under FRPA regulations. Designation of a stream as temperature sensitive means that special riparian best management practices will apply to leave sufficient trees to maintain stream temperatures. Currently, however, there are no objective methods or decision-support tools to identify and designate those streams that require this protection. Many past analyses of the relationship of water temperatures to fish populations have focused at the scale of individual streams. This scale of information is important to support our analyses, but we will be attempting to link this information to the landscape scale datasets and models that have been developed in the province. The focus of this project is to develop a 'proof of concept' documenting the data requirements, sampling designs, and analytical methods that will be needed to demonstrate a rigorous and defensible approach to broad scale designation of TSS streams for sustainable forest management. Since well be exploring novel analyses and approaches for regional designation of TSS we see this as a pilot exercise to determine if we can develop a workable conceptual framework that can be sufficiently supported by the available datasets. This project would build on previous work on designating Temperature Sensitive Streams (Nelitz 2004, Nelitz et al in press, Marmorek and Alexander 2003) and integrate data on fish occurrence, stream temperatures and watershed characteristics that have previously been assembled into large, province-wide data sets linkable to BCs digital Watershed Atlas. We will utilize previously developed analyses and quantitative models that describe regional fish distribution (e.g., Porter 2004; Porter and Frid 2004; Porter and Nelitz 2006), water temperature patterns (e.g., Moore 2006, Stahl and Moore 2006) and response to forest harvest (e.g., Teti 1998; Moore et al 2005a; 2005b) Information from these fish, temperature and landscape models will be used to generate key TSS indicators that can be combined to create a composite TSS index for designation of candidate temperature sensitive streams. This index will be interpreted spatially for creation of GIS maps depicting TSS at regional scales, recognising the inherent (and regionally varying) level of uncertainty in the composite information that will make up this index. As such, we will perform sensitivity analyses with different weightings of the component indicators. The ultimate intent of our analyses is to develop methods that can be used for initial, broad scale screening of temperature sensitive streams. There will remain a need for more specific watershed and site level information to fully assess physical temperature sensitivity for many systems.
Related projects:  FSP_Y082057
Contact: Nelitz, Marc, (604) 733-2996 ext. 554,


Executive Summary (21Kb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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