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Location: Fraser River Basin,
The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) contracted Watershed Watch Salmon Society to prepare an overview on water issues relevant for salmon conservation for the Fraser Salmon and Watershed Program (FSWP), which PSF runs with the Fraser Basin Council. Craig Orr, Stan Proboszcz, and Tanis Douglas of WWSS, and Linda Nowlan, an environmental lawyer and consultant, prepared this report. The report describes several potential roles for the FSWP on water management and policy.
Preparation of a report which lists current water initiatives in BC relevant for salmon stewardship, briefly reviews the status of these evolving stewardship programs, and identifies areas that need to be further developed in order to improve water stewardship for salmon in BC.
The report provides an overview of current issues in water policy in BC, concentrating on areas where there are opportunities for the FSWP to:
* integrate water use with watershed and fish sustainability planning, as proposed in the FSWP planning framework;
Location: Thompson, Fortune Creek, northern Shuswap
Fortune Creek is a regulated system that supplies water to approximately 4,500 residences in Armstrong and the Spallumcheen Valley. The Creek provides important habitat for resident rainbow trout, juvenile coho, and juvenile chinook. Due to low flows in the summer, water temperature often becomes lethally warm to those fish species. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has identified Fortune Creek as one of the top 10 flow sensitive fish streams in the Interior. While DFO and City of Armstrong have worked co-operatively to try and maintain stream flows to sustain fish, water management in the watershed has become increasingly difficult.
Funded by Pacific Salmon Foundation and in cooperation with various organizations and partners, a scoping study was conducted in Jan to April, 2007. The purpose of the scoping study was to identify major issues of concern and determine the priorities for better managing water allocation in the watershed to meet both fish and human needs. Through wide and intensive consultations with over 40 individuals and more than 15 organizations, surface water and groundwater interaction was identified as the highest priority to be examined in the next phase project. In addition, our preliminary field flow measurements along the Creek have clearly showed that there was significant surface water leakage into groundwater systems including losses into the Deep creek watershed. Surface water and groundwater interaction is a critical factor for determining water quantity, quality and water thermal regime for fish habitat. Thus, understanding surface water and groundwater interactions represents a critical step for constructing water budgets and for designing sustainable water management strategies.
We propose a three-year project. Our overall objectives over three years are: 1) to fully understand surface water and groundwater interactions, and their relationship to fish needs; and 2) to assess impacts of various management strategies on fish protection and human needs. The objective in the first year (2007/08) is to use different techniques to quantify surface water and groundwater interactions in the Creek.
In addition, this proposed project will continue to bring together local communities, First Nations, government agencies, UBC and anyone who is interested in salmon issues to protect or restore salmon resource in the watershed. It will also provide great training opportunity to one graduate student and 3 undergraduate students, and improve awareness of fisheries issues with the public.
Fortune Creek is located in the Upper Shuswap and has historically been a key producer of chinook and coho. However, the creek has run dry the past several years. Phase 2 will further the understanding of the surface and groundwater interactions, identify base flows required for fish, and determine the measures required to ensure there are adequate fish flows.
Since there is no a perfect method in studying surface water and groundwater interactions, we select three approaches for this project. They include water balance, geochemical tracing and geophysics. While water balance and chemical tracing approaches can allow quantification of amounts of water interaction, geophysics can be used to understand the mechanisms for interactions. Therefore, combination or integration of the three methods can complement each other, and represents an innovative approach for this project.
â€¢ Geochemical tracing: interaction of the Fortune Creek with the underlying shallow and deep aquifers will be assessed by paired chemical analysis of surface water and groundwater.
â€¢ Geophysics: One of the key uncertainties of the Fortune Creek system is the degree of interaction between shallow aquifers and deeper aquifers. The Geological Survey of Canada Seismic Reflection Survey crew will be in the Okanagan region in later summer or fall of 2007 to conduct work for other projects. This represents an opportunity to have the proposed geophysics work conducted that might not otherwise be possible. Seismic reflection survey can be useful for determining the degree of connection between the shallow and deep aquifers.
Three-year study to understand surface/groundwater interactions within Fortune Creek (identified as a priority creek by DFO) using three methods. Work ongoing with Masterï¿½(tm)s student having joined the project in September. Progress continues.