NOTE: The Fish and Watershed Program was active from 1996 until 2011 when it became part of the Water Program. For information on current projects, visit the Water Program page.
The Fish and Watershed Program developed planning tools for forest and land management. These tools were designed to help maintain fish habitat and water quality in forests with industrial operations. Tools included watershed classification systems and riparian (wetlands) management strategies.
Past projects of the Fish and Watershed Program have pointed to the importance of studying fish habitats. Fish populations vary for many reasons including climate, elevations, beaver activity, and angling, while—according to past Fish and Watershed projects—fish habitats are less variable than populations over time. Therefore, studying fish habitats should lead to an increased understanding of both aquatic systems and the effects of human activities on these environments.
The program completed numerous projects which are summarized below:
- Inventories and assessments of stream crossings (which can prevent fish passage) in many watersheds of the Hinton Wood Products Forest Management Area.
- Topography-based streams and watershed classification systems.
- Developed local level indicators of sustainable forest management for aquatic-resource indicators.
Other Fish and Watershed Program projects included:
- Developing a field-classification manual that provides riparian-area management guidelines relevant across the Province of Alberta.
- Developing a new fish and fish-habitat database to better monitor and address ecological changes throughout the Foothills Research Institute land base including Jasper National Park.
- Providing scientific expertise to the Hardisty Creek Restoration Project. This project is a collaborative effort between a local environmental group, government agencies, the public and other stakeholders who are restoring Hardisty Creek. Hardisty Creek runs through the community of Hinton. This project is widely recognized as being a leader in stewardship. In 2006, it was recognized as a finalist in the Community Projects category of the Alberta Emerald Environmental Awards and received the Environmental Effort award from Communities in Bloom Canada. In 2007, it received a Forest Stewardship Recognition Award from Wildlife Habitat Canada.