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Research Document - 2016/069

Evaluating Habitat Compensation in Insular Newfoundland Rivers: What have we Learned?

By Keith D. Clarke


Habitat compensation is necessitated when a development project is expected to negatively impact fish habitat. The main goal of any compensation program is to offset the lost ‘productive capacity’ which stems from the ‘no net loss’ guiding principle outlined in the Policy for the Management of Fish Habitat. In Newfoundland, a number of compensation programs have been the subject to detailed scientific evaluations. An overview of these results will be presented and discussed with respect to the ‘no net loss’ principle. The lessons learned from these projects, as well as other habitat related research, have led to some generalizations about habitat population linkages within the freshwater habitats of Newfoundland. These will be outlined to allow a discussion on moving habitat compensation from a purely ‘physical habitat’ perspective to one that focuses more on ‘production’. The change in focus will be necessary as compensation plans become more complicated.

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