Water Stewardship Information Sources

Citation Lewis, FJA, Harwood, AJ, Zyla, C, Ganshorn, KD and Hatfield, T. Long term aquatic monitoring protocols for new and upgraded hydroelectric projects. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Research Document 2012/166.
Organization DFO
URL http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/library/348883.pdf
Abstract/Description or Keywords The Long-term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects identify
suitable methods to evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation and compensation activities undertaken
during the development and operation of a project, and to evaluate the project‟s effects on fish and fish
habitat. Furthermore, this document is intended to promote standardized monitoring methodologies that
will create consistency in the regulatory requirements of project proponents and allow for the
comparison of data across multiple projects in order to evaluate environmental effects and generalize
results across projects. Given the need for consistent monitoring over time, the document also details
the requirements for baseline monitoring, which are necessary in order to complete an environmental
impact assessment (EIA) to meet legislative and regulatory requirements under the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act and Fisheries Act. The geographic focus of this document is British
Columbia and the Yukon Territory, although it may apply elsewhere in Canada.
These protocols are designed to identify key variables, assist the planning and design of baseline and
long-term monitoring programs, and provide technical methodology and analysis tools. Accordingly,
tools that are pertinent to assessing the biological, physical, and chemical responses of aquatic
systems to the development and operation of a hydroelectric project are introduced in the subsequent
discussions. The data and knowledge that are obtained through the monitoring protocols presented
herein will provide a basis for understanding project-ecosystem interactions in BC and the Yukon, and
for improved protection of aquatic habitat.
Three types of monitoring are described in this report: Compliance Monitoring, Effectiveness
Monitoring, and Response Monitoring. Each type is expanded upon in Section 2. In general, the
monitoring protocols described here can establish (i.) key indicators by which regulatory agencies can
measure compliance, (ii.) tools for evaluating the relative success of mitigation and compensation
measures designed to minimize or offset environmental impacts, and (iii.) a mechanism for improving
the management of the project and similar projects through the evaluation of project effects and the
integration of corporate learning. The protocols are grouped according to specific environmental
parameters and details of these parameters are in Table 7 to Table 22. A table of contents for a sample
monitoring plan report has been included in Appendix A as guidance.
Six primary parameters are identified that will be monitored for all projects. These include: water flow,
mitigation and compensation measures, riparian habitat, water temperature, stream morphology, and
fish abundance and behaviour. There are three secondary parameters that should be monitored on a
case-by-case basis: water quality, invertebrate abundance, and species at risk. Important conditions
and considerations pertinent to the monitoring of these parameters are provided throughout these
protocols. For example, some fish populations may require sampling of all critical life phases on an
annual basis (i.e. multiple sampling periods each year).
It is acknowledged that the proposed monitoring design will need to maintain a certain level of flexibility
and adaptability in order to handle major differences between projects and to incorporate new
knowledge and methodologies as they develop. Project-specific concerns will be raised during the EIA
and the monitoring program should accordingly be tailored to address effect predictions made in the
EIA. Additional monitoring effort may be required for certain environmental parameters depending on
project-specific circumstances. Consequently, these protocols avoid a fully prescriptive approach and
focus on describing the different types of monitoring that will be required and the range of variables that
may require measurement. For those parameters that will be monitored, the level of monitoring set forth in these protocols is viewed as a minimum requirement due to the variability inherent in physical and
biological systems, and the current uncertainty surrounding the relationship between flow and fish
populations (Bradford and Heinonen 2008). Ultimately, the monitoring plan design is at the discretion of
the professionals undertaking the studies and the regulators overseeing the licensing of the project.
Information Type report
Regional Watershed Province
Sub-watershed if known
Aquifer #
Project status
Contact Name
Contact Email