Monitoring Programs

Monitoring Programs

There are three monitoring programs of the NFCP:

  • Summer Temperature Monitoring Program: monitors the temperature levels in the Nechako River to direct water level management from the Skins Lake Spillway with the goal to keep water temperatures below harmful levels for migrating Chinook salmon. ⇒ learn more
  • Annual Water Allocation: Addresses the minimum mean annual discharge from Skins Lake Spillway. ⇒ learn more
  • Chinook Escapement Monitoring: A count of migrating Chinook salmon through the Nechako River in consideration of the Conservation Goal of the Settlement Agreement. ⇒ learn more

Monitoring Conclusions

In general, the NFCP has functioned effectively since 1987 and the collaboration between Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Province of BC and Rio Tinto Alcan has successfully fulfilled the programs' mandate as defined in the 1987 Settlement Agreement. The original focus of the NFCP was to prepare for lower flows that would result from the Kemano Completion Project. Following the cancellation of the KCP in 1995, the program continued to operate in anticipation of altered flows associated with a potential KDRF.

The NFCP focus has been directed towards the Nechako Chinook population and the migratory sockeye that utilize the Nechako River Corridor. Monitoring has demonstrated that the Nechako Chinook population is healthy and meets the Conservation Goal in most years. Additionally, previous monitoring of fry emergence and juvenile outmigration has shown that the incubation and fry rearing habitats (NFCP History Report) in the Nechako have remained stable in the Nechako River. All research reports are provided in the NFCP Library.

The scope of the NFCP mandate relative to sockeye conservation is to operate the Summer Temperature Management Program (read the NFCP History Report). It is evident that the STMP has limited the frequency of mean daily temperatures that have exceeded 20°C at the Nechako-Stuart confluence and effectively mitigates warming effects on sockeye salmon that are associated with flow regulation. Warming water temperatures have occurred in the Upper Fraser region in the past couple of decades and temperature-related mortality of sockeye salmon remains an ongoing concern throughout the drainage basin.