Northern Interior Forest Region


Small stream riparian retention: the Prince George Small Streams Project

Author(s) or contact(s): J. Rex, D. Maloney, E. MacIsaac, H. Herunter, P. Beaudry, and L. Beaudry
Source: Northern Interior Forest Region
Subject: Fish and Fish Habitat, Riparian Management
Series: Extension Note
Other details:  Published 2011. Hardcopy is available.


The Prince George Small Streams Project was initiated in the Prince George Forest District in 2001 to assess the effectiveness of the Prince George District Manager’s policy (pgdm 1999) to maintain the riparian functions and fish habitat values of small streams that are less than 1.5 m bankfull width. This extension note provides a project overview and highlights specific findings to inform forest professionals about small stream riparian management in the Central Interior of British Columbia. A more complete description of the project and all of its findings can be found on the British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Range Fish-Forest Interaction website and in a forthcoming 6-year synthesis report that will be available on the Ministry’s publications website. Although this project was developed under the Forest Practices Code (fpc) regulatory regime, it is equally relevant today because the lack of mandatory riparian reserves for small (class s4) fish-bearing streams in the fpc remains unchanged in the current Forest Planning and Practices Regulation (fppr s. 47(4)). Furthermore, current emphasis on professional reliance underscores the importance of making research findings available to forest professionals so they can formulate appropriate forest practices for managing riparian areas adjacent to small streams.

In 1999, the Prince George District Manager expressed concerns about the effectiveness of fpc riparian management regulations that allow for zero tree retention along s4 streams. In accordance with section 41(1)(b) of the fpc, the District Manager must be satisfied that an operational plan for harvesting will “adequately manage and conserve” forest resources in the area addressed by the plan. Following a review of the scientific literature and reporting by resource professionals, the District Manager approved a policy designed to address the biological and physical habitat requirements of small fish-bearing streams (s4). The policy’s purpose was to guide resource professionals in preparing operational plans and to guide the statutory decision-maker when approving those operational plans.

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Updated March 08, 2011