Level 1 Habitat Assessment

 
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BCIT students, community volunteers assist Roundtable in Level 1 Fish Habitat Assessment of Lower Coquitlam River!

During September 2014 through spring 2015, the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable collaborated with BCIT faculty and 2nd Year Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Program students, to complete its first “boots-in-stream” project – a Level 1 Fish Habitat Assessment (FHAP) of the lower Coquitlam River.  The project was supported by $15,000 in grant funding from Metro Vancouver and the Pacific Salmon Foundation, in-kind support from the City of Coquitlam and Roundtable volunteers.

Following the Provincial BC Fish Habitat Assessment Procedures technical guidelines, the assessment, which extended over 17 kms, from dam to mouth, filled a needed data gap to study and assess fish habitat conditions that would help identify future enhancement opportunities for salmonid habitat rehabilitation in the Coquitlam River.

Forty-four students, faculty and community volunteers were trained by InStream Fisheries Research Inc. consultants in both a classroom and field environment on the BCIT campus, before completing a two-day field assessment in the lower Coquitlam River to capture and record the data. The final report, “Lower Coquitlam River Fish Habitat Assessment (Level 1) – 2014” was published in April 2015, and serves to report on the fish species needs for various life history stages at risk, quantifies fish habitat conditions and provides recommendations for areas for site-specific evaluation. The report includes photos of key watercourse features, results by reach for the entire lower Coquitlam River, and the Classroom Training module custom-developed for teaching others the basics to Level 1 Fish Habitat Assessment projects.  In total, an estimated 860 volunteer hours valued at $23,240 was matched to the grant funding for consulting support and reporting brought to a total project valued at $37,240. Click here for PDFs of the final Level 1 Assessment Report and the Level 1 Training Module, or find them in the adjacent Resources Box.

The Lower Coquitlam River Level 1 FHAP was a pilot effort by the Roundtable to help link volunteers directly with a science-based program that would typically be contracted out to consultants to undertake.  The Roundtable now has a valuable report, which can be advanced for the further stage of assessment, and the BCIT Fish Wildlife & Recreation faculty now has a transferable training tool that can be applied in other watersheds for other communities.   Similar Level 1 Habitat Assessment studies have been produced for other Metro Vancouver area drainages including the Capilano and Brunette rivers.  

Through this successful partnership, the Roundtable can now seek opportunities for fish enhancement projects that partners could implement that would help support healthy populations of salmonids in the watershed.

A short YouTube video of the project can be viewed here.

For more information, please contact the Roundtable Coordinator.

 
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Our Roundtable Watershed Coordinator can be reached at coordinator@coquitlamriverwatershed.ca

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