Watershed Health Status and Vulnerability in Trepanier Creek

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Westbank First Nations

Project Description:

This project will build upon the current work of Ntityix Resources LP within WFN’s Community Forest, and tributary monitoring by ONA Fisheries, the BC Government (FLNROR), and the Okanagan Basin Water Board (Water Stewardship) in developing Ecological Flow Needs (EFN) using salmonids as the key biological reference point to guide forest management decisions and future watershed protection initiatives.

The purpose of the Trepanier Watershed Health (the Assessment) is to identify healthy sub-catchments and characterize relative watershed health across the watershed to guide future protection initiatives. A healthy watershed has the structure and function in place to support healthy aquatic ecosystems. It is characterized as having either in its entirety, or as key components: intact and functioning headwaters, wetlands, floodplains, riparian corridors, biotic refugia, instream and lake habitat, and biotic communities; natural vegetation in the landscape; natural hydrology (e.g., range of instream flows and lake levels); sediment transport and fluvial geomorphology; and natural disturbance regimes expected for its location. The Trepanier Landscape unit is a priority watershed flagged for anadromous salmon restoration, while facing land pressures as one of the fastest growing populations in British Columbia.

The goals of the Assessment is to:

  1. Integrate multi-disciplinary data to both identify healthy sub-catchments and characterize the relative health across the Trepanier basin,
  2. Make watershed health data and information readily available to a variety of agencies, federal, and local programs for watershed protection planning,
  3. Encourage inter-agency partnerships and collaboration to build upon previous efforts to assess watershed health and protect healthy watersheds,
  4. Provide recommendations for watershed enhancement opportunities,
  5. Provide recommendations for future forest management decisions; and
  6. Identify short- and long-term risk factors (for example, climate change, mining, forest management practices) that have the potential to directly affect watershed health.

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