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cog icon Environmental Assessment, Permitting, and Mitigation Planning and Adaptive Management Water Resources Engineering Hydro / Utilities

location icon Campbell River

Campbell River Water License Requirements Monitoring Studies


Project overview

Ecofish was selected by Laich-Kwil-Tach Environmental Assessments Limited Partnership (LKT) in Campbell River to support them to deliver BC Hydro’s Campbell River System Water Use Plan (WUP) monitoring programs.

A Water Use Plan is a technical document that, once reviewed by provincial and federal agencies and accepted by the provincial Comptroller of Water Rights, defines how water control facilities will be operated for a given water system.

Client: Laich Kwil Tach Environmental Assessment Limited Partnership, BC Hydro

Location: Campbell River, Vancouver Island

Duration: 2014 – ongoing

The challenge

The Campbell River System is a complex system of lakes, reservoirs and streams. It supports a number of hydroelectric facilities, specifically:

  • Buttle and Upper Campbell Lake Reservoir (“Upper Campbell Reservoir”), Strathcona Dam, Strathcona Generating Station and Crest Diversion (and, previously, Heber Diversion);
  • Campbell Lake Reservoir (“Lower Campbell Reservoir”), Ladore Dam, Ladore Generating Station, Salmon Diversion Dam, Quinsam Diversion Dam and Quinsam Storage Dam; and
  • John Hart Lake Reservoir, John Hart Dam and John Hart Generating Station.

In 2012, BC Hydro implemented the Campbell River WUP, including a number of changes to current operations of the Campbell River System. These changes are expected to positively affect fisheries and wildlife habitat, shoreline conditions, flood control, and recreation interests. They wanted to evaluate key uncertainties in support of improved operating decisions in the future.

The work

Supporting and informing the process

BC Hydro has initiated a number of long term (10 year) Water License Requirement (WLR) monitoring programs intended to evaluate key uncertainties in support of improved operating decisions in the future.  Ecofish was selected by Laich Kwil Tach Environmental Assessment Limited Partnership to support the We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum First Nations deliver 10 WLR monitoring studies starting in 2014 and ending in 2025.  Studies that have been initiated in collaboration with A-Tlegay Fisheries Society to date include:

  • Upper and Lower Campbell Lake Reservoirs Fish Spawning Success
  • Upper and Lower Campbell Lake Reservoirs Littoral Productivity Assessment
  • Campbell Reservoirs Littoral vs. Pelagic Fish Production Assessment
  • Campbell Watershed Riverine Fish Production Assessment
  • Heber, Quinsam and Salmon Rivers Smolt and Spawner Abundance Assessment
  • Upper and Lower Campbell Lake Reservoirs Shoreline Vegetation Model Validation
  • Elk Canyon Smolt and Spawner Abundance Assessment

Evaluating and refining

Ecofish and A-Tlegay initiated field work for most of the programs and continue to evaluate field data for each program, refining the monitoring methods as required, addressing challenging field constraints such as that experienced in the steep and dangerous Elk Falls Canyon, and ensuring statistically sound data collection is planned for the duration of the 10-year monitoring cycle.

“In 2014, Laich-Kwil-Tach Environmental Assessment Ltd. (LKT) selected Ecofish Research to provide support in the delivery of the Campbell River Water Use Plan monitoring studies for BC Hydro.  Ecofish was chosen based on the depth of expertise and experience in large scale monitoring projects and water use planning.  Since that time Ecofish has worked closely with our First Nations Technicians and shared in valuable training and skill development with our staff on this 10 year project.  The staff at Ecofish have always been prompt and professional and a pleasure to deal with.”  

Laich-Kwil-Tach Environmental Assessment Ltd.