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Research Document 2017/046

Methods used in evaluating the effectiveness of creating/enhancing stream habitats in Newfoundland and Labrador

By Roberge, M.M. and T.N. Warren


In 2003 a mining project in western Labrador included activities that, as a condition of regulatory approval, required the creation of similar riverine habitat that was impacted. In 2005 a mining project in central Newfoundland included activities that similarly required restoration of severely degraded riverine habitat. Monitoring for both habitat compensation projects included metrics used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the compensation including those for structural integrity, habitat suitability and fish utilization and changes to fish populations.

An evaluation of the metrics used revealed that most were useful, especially when used in conjunction with others. The metrics have been successful in identifying changes over time and have enabled the assessment of the status of the compensation and to determine whether additional changes were required in order for the compensation to function more effectively. The metric of population age structure was either not provided in one project or had uncertainties raised in the second project. Changes in population age structure should be monitored and the method to aging be verified (e.g. age-length key). When assessing compensation, metrics should be collected over a sufficient time period, be used in conjunction with other metrics, and should be detailed enough to provide a clear picture of trends. Baseline data is also critical as are the establishment of control sites to verify changes and subsequent effectiveness of the fish habitat compensation activities.

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