Water Stewardship Information Sources

Citation Tschaplinski, PJ, Scrivener, JC and Holtby, LB. 1998. Long-term patterns in the abundance of Carnation Creek salmon, and the effects of logging, climate variation, and fishing on adult returns. In: Hogan, D.L., P.J. Tschaplinski, and S. Chatwin (Editors). B.C. Min. For., Res. Br., Victoria, B.C. Land Manage. Handb. No. 41.
Organization FLNRO
URL https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/pubs/docs/Lmh/Lmh41.htm
Abstract/Description or Keywords The effects of forest harvesting on fish populations
have been studied for over 23 years at Carnation
Creek on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British
Columbia. This intensive case study of a single watershed
has generated the longest series of continuous
data on fisheries-forestry interactions anywhere. The
Carnation Creek Experimental Watershed Project was
initiated in mid-1970 by the federal agency now
known as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. In
the 1960s, resource managers and planners had to
base their judgements about the effects of logging on
fish populations on studies conducted elsewhere in
North America, such as Oregon, Alaska, and as far
away as New Hampshire. Both the forest industry and
government resource agencies expressed concern that
these extrapolations might not lead to the most
appropriate planning decisions for areas on the west
coast of British Columbia. Therefore, the Carnation
Creek study was initiated to provide fisheries-forestry
information on at least one type of drainage basin in
coastal British Columbia.
After 1971, the Carnation Creek study greatly
expanded into a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary
program on the effects of forest harvesting on a
coastal watershed and its salmon and trout populations.
The objectives of this research and monitoring
program were to: 1) provide an understanding of
the physical and biological processes operating
within a coastal watershed; 2) reveal how the forest
harvesting practices employed in the 1970s and early
1980s changed these processes; and 3) apply the
results of the study to make reasonable and useful
decisions concerning land-use management, fish
populations, and aquatic habitat protection. The
project has achieved these goals despite the limitations
typically associated with intensive studies
made only in a single watershed. Over 180 publications
have been produced from Carnation Creek
research. The results from this project have made
major contributions to the British Columbia Coastal
Fisheries-Forestry Guidelines (CFFG) implemented
in 1987, and the legally binding provisions for
aquatic habitat protection within the new British
Columbia Forest Practices Code.
Fish populations have been studied at Carnation
Creek virtually continuously since 1970. This project
has thus provided researchers with a unique opportunity
to examine the long-term changes in the
abundance, growth, and survival of coastal salmon
and trout under a regime of forest harvesting. The
objectives of this review are to illustrate:
1. the changes in the abundance, growth, and
survival of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch),
chum salmon (O. keta), anadromous rainbow
trout (“steelhead”, O. mykiss), and cutthroat trout
(0. clarki) in Carnation Creek from 1970 or 1971
(depending upon the species) to 1993 through
5 pre-logging, 6 during-logging, and 12 postlogging
2. the complex effects of forest harvesting and the
way in which they vary among species and among
the life stages within the same species; and
3. the dependency of salmonid production on
biological and physical processes occurring not
only within watersheds, but also in marine
environments (e.g., climate-associated changes,
predation, and fishing).
The following discussion also shows the value of
long-term, multidisciplinary studies for clarifying
the complex interactions among land-use practices
and the natural processes occurring within
watersheds, which together determine salmonid
abundance and growth in coastal streams.
Information Type Article
Regional Watershed Coast Region
Sub-watershed if known
Aquifer #
Project status complete
Contact Name
Contact Email