S C C S C S A S

S C C S C S A S
CSAS
SCCS
Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat
Secrétariat canadien de consultation scientifique
Research Document 2012/166
Document de recherche 2012/166
Pacific Region
Région du Pacifique
Long term Aquatic Monitoring
Protocols for New and Upgraded
Hydroelectric Projects
Protocoles de surveillance à long terme
des projets hydroélectriques nouveaux
et mis à niveau
F.J. Adam Lewis
Andrew J. Harwood
Cory Zyla
Kevin D. Ganshorn
Todd Hatfield
EcoFish Research Ltd. Suite F, 450 8th St. Courtenay, BC V9N 1N5
3190 Hammond Bay Rd., Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N7
This series documents the scientific basis for the
evaluation of aquatic resources and ecosystems in
Canada. As such, it addresses the issues of the
day in the time frames required and the
documents it contains are not intended as
definitive statements on the subjects addressed
but rather as progress reports on ongoing
investigations.
Research documents are produced in the official
language in which they are provided to the
Secretariat.
La présente série documente les fondements
scientifiques des évaluations des ressources et
des écosystèmes aquatiques du Canada. Elle
traite des problèmes courants selon les
échéanciers dictés.
Les documents qu‟elle
contient ne doivent pas être considérés comme
des énoncés définitifs sur les sujets traités, mais
plutôt comme des rapports d‟étape sur les
études en cours.
Les documents de recherche sont publiés dans
la langue officielle utilisée dans le manuscrit
envoyé au Secrétariat.
Ce document est disponible sur l‟Internet à:
This document is available on the Internet at:
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/
ISSN 1499-3848 (Printed / Imprimé)
ISSN 1919-5044 (Online / En ligne)
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2013
© Sa Majesté la Reine du Chef du Canada, 2013
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES ...................................................................................................................................... III
LIST OF TABLES........................................................................................................................................ III
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........................................................................................................................... IV
ABBREVIATIONS AND GLOSSARY ......................................................................................................... IV
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................................. VI
RÉSUMÉ ................................................................................................................................................... VIII
1
INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................... 1
1.1
PURPOSE AND INTENT ...................................................................................................................... 1
1.1.1
Applicable Projects ................................................................................................................. 1
1.1.2
Relation to Legislation and Policy ........................................................................................... 3
1.1.3
Significance to Fishery Resources ......................................................................................... 4
1.1.4
Effects Assessment and Cumulative Effects .......................................................................... 4
1.1.5
Adaptive Management ............................................................................................................ 6
1.2
TYPES OF HYDROELECTRIC PROJECTS .............................................................................................. 6
1.3
LINKAGE TO ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ...................................................................................... 8
1.4
MONITORING DESIGN........................................................................................................................ 9
1.5
BASELINE DATA REQUIREMENTS ..................................................................................................... 10
1.6
PROFESSIONAL REQUIREMENTS ...................................................................................................... 14
2
TYPES OF MONITORING .................................................................................................................. 14
2.1
2.2
2.3
3
COMPLIANCE MONITORING.............................................................................................................. 17
EFFECTIVENESS MONITORING ......................................................................................................... 17
RESPONSE MONITORING................................................................................................................. 18
MONITORING PARAMETERS ........................................................................................................... 20
3.1
STREAMS ....................................................................................................................................... 20
3.1.1
Water Quantity ...................................................................................................................... 20
3.1.2
Mitigation and Compensation Measures .............................................................................. 28
3.1.3
Footprint Impact Verification ................................................................................................. 30
3.1.4
Water Temperature ............................................................................................................... 33
3.1.5
Stream Channel Morphology ................................................................................................ 35
3.1.6
Fish Community .................................................................................................................... 37
3.1.7
Water Quality ........................................................................................................................ 42
3.1.8
Invertebrate Drift ................................................................................................................... 44
3.1.9
Species at Risk ..................................................................................................................... 45
3.2
LAKES AND RESERVOIRS ................................................................................................................ 46
3.2.1
Physical Lake Characteristics ............................................................................................... 48
3.2.2
Water Quantity ...................................................................................................................... 48
3.2.3
Limnology and Water Quality ................................................................................................ 49
3.2.4
Fish Habitat ........................................................................................................................... 52
3.2.5
Fish Community .................................................................................................................... 53
3.2.6
Zooplankton and Benthic Invertebrates ................................................................................ 55
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
3.2.7
4
Species at Risk ..................................................................................................................... 56
REPORTING ....................................................................................................................................... 57
REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................................... 59
APPENDIX A:
SAMPLE OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING PLAN ........................ 87
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Typical Project Development Sequence for an Independent Power Producer. .............................2
Figure 2.Examples of upstream, diversion, and downstream sections for three hypothetical hydroelectric
projects. ................................................................................................................................................13
Figure 3.Simplified overview of project development and selected types of monitoring. ............................16
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Monitoring parameters and their associated baseline data requirements, frequency and duration of
monitoring for stream-based hydroelectric projects. ............................................................................21
Table 2. Riparian assessment parameters and methodology. ....................................................................32
Table 3. List of water quality parameters to be sampled on stream-based hydroelectric projects. ............43
Table 4. Additional monitoring parameters and their associated baseline data requirements, frequency and
duration of monitoring for hydroelectric projects involving a lake or reservoir. ....................................47
Table 5. List of physicochemical water quality parameters to be sampled for lake or reservoir hydroelectric
projects. ................................................................................................................................................51
Table 6. List of physicochemical sediment quality parameters to be sampled for lake or reservoir
hydroelectric projects. ..........................................................................................................................51
Table 7. Components of an instream flow monitoring program for hydroelectric projects. .........................71
Table 8. Components involved in testing and determining ramping rates for hydroelectric projects. .........72
Table 9. Components of a construction monitoring program for hydroelectric projects. .............................73
Table 10. Components of a fish screen and fishway monitoring program for hydroelectric projects. .........74
Table 11. Components of a compensation habitat monitoring program for hydroelectric projects. ............75
Table 12. Components of a footprint impact verification program for hydroelectric projects. .....................76
Table 13. Components of a water temperature monitoring program for stream-based hydroelectric projects.
..............................................................................................................................................................77
Table 14. Components of a stream channel morphology monitoring program for stream-based hydroelectric
projects. ................................................................................................................................................78
Table 15. Components of a fish community monitoring program for stream-based hydroelectric projects.79
Table 16. Components of a water quality monitoring program for stream-based hydroelectric projects. ...80
Table 17. Components of an invertebrate drift monitoring program for stream-based hydroelectric projects.
..............................................................................................................................................................81
Table 18. Components of a bathymetry monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric projects. ..........82
Table 19. Components of a limnology and water quality monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric
projects. ................................................................................................................................................83
Table 20. Components of a fish habitat monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric projects. ..........84
Table 21. Components of a fish community monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric projects. ...85
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 22. Components of a zooplankton and benthic invertebrate community monitoring program for lakebased hydroelectric projects.................................................................................................................86
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This project was managed on behalf of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans by John Patterson,
Senior Program Biologist, and Dave Carter, Team Lead, Habitat Monitoring. DFO staff and attendees at
the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat meeting provided a critical review of the document which
greatly improved the content of the final report. In particular, we thank Tom Pendray, Mike Bradford,
Keith Clarke, Francesca Knight, and Brian Guy who provided extensive comments. We thank Sean
Faulkner and Deborah Lacroix of Ecofish Research Ltd. for their technical assistance in the preparation
of this document. The material in this document builds on the work of a number of other professionals
involved in the monitoring of hydroelectric projects. In particular, Barry Chilibeck was co-author on
earlier documents prepared on the behalf of the Province of BC, and that earlier work is reflected in a
number of the monitoring components in this document.
ABBREVIATIONS AND GLOSSARY
ADCP
Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler
APHA
American Public Health Association
BA
Before-After monitoring design
BACI
Before-After Control-Impact monitoring design
CEA
Cumulative Effects Assessment
CEAA
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
CEFI
Canadian Ecological Flow Index
COSEWIC
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
CPUE
catch-per-unit-effort
Cumulative Effect
The effect on the environment which results from effects of a project when
combined with those of other past, existing, and imminent projects and activities
(may occur over a certain period of time and distance).
DFO
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
EEM
environmental effects monitoring
EIA
Environmental Impact Assessment
ECP
Environmental ChoiceM Program (Environment Canada)
EMP
Environmental Management Plan
FHAP
fish habitat assessment procedure
FIDQ
Fisheries Inventory Data Queries
Flow Ramping
A gradual or progressive alteration of discharge in a stream channel resulting from
the operation of a hydroelectric facility
GPS
Global Positioning System
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Hydropeaking
The practice of abruptly alternating flows for electrical power generation to match
energy demand
HADD
harmful alteration, disruption or destruction (of fish habitat)
HPLC
high-performance liquid chromatography
HSI
habitat suitability index
HSM
habitat suitability matrix
ICOLD
International Commission on Large Dams
IFR
instream flow release
LoA
Letter of Advice
LWBC
Land and Water British Columbia Inc.
LWD
large woody debris
MAD
mean annual discharge
MoE
Ministry of Environment
MW
megawatt
MWLAP
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
NNL
no net loss (in the productive capacity of fish habitat)
PIT
passive integrated transponder
POD
point of diversion
Ramping Rate
The rate of change in discharge measured as a flow per unit time (i.e., m3/s/s or
cfs/s); can also be expressed as the rate of change in stage and measured as
vertical change in water surface per unit time (i.e., cm/hr)
RCA
Reference Condition Approach
RISC
Resources Information Standards Committee
ROW
right-of-way
R.P.Bio.
Registered Professional Biologist
RVT
Riparian Vegetation Type
SARA
Species at Risk Act
SEM-AVS
simultaneously extracted metals and acid volatile sulfides
TGP
total gas pressure
Upgrade
For the purposes of this document, an upgrade is defined as work that may result
in the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction (HADD) of fish habitat and
require review under the Fisheries Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. F-14) and/or the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act (S.C. 1992, c. 37)
UTM
Universal Transverse Mercator
VEC
Valued Environmental Component
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Correct citation for this publication:
Lewis, F.J.A., A.J. Harwood, C. Zyla, K.D. Ganshorn, and T. Hatfield. 2013. Long term Aquatic
Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec.
Res. Doc. 2012/166. ix + 88p.
ABSTRACT
The Long-term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects identify
suitable methods to evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation and compensation activities undertaken
during the development and operation of a project, and to evaluate the project‟s effects on fish and fish
habitat. Furthermore, this document is intended to promote standardized monitoring methodologies that
will create consistency in the regulatory requirements of project proponents and allow for the
comparison of data across multiple projects in order to evaluate environmental effects and generalize
results across projects. Given the need for consistent monitoring over time, the document also details
the requirements for baseline monitoring, which are necessary in order to complete an environmental
impact assessment (EIA) to meet legislative and regulatory requirements under the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act and Fisheries Act. The geographic focus of this document is British
Columbia and the Yukon Territory, although it may apply elsewhere in Canada.
These protocols are designed to identify key variables, assist the planning and design of baseline and
long-term monitoring programs, and provide technical methodology and analysis tools. Accordingly,
tools that are pertinent to assessing the biological, physical, and chemical responses of aquatic
systems to the development and operation of a hydroelectric project are introduced in the subsequent
discussions. The data and knowledge that are obtained through the monitoring protocols presented
herein will provide a basis for understanding project-ecosystem interactions in BC and the Yukon, and
for improved protection of aquatic habitat.
Three types of monitoring are described in this report: Compliance Monitoring, Effectiveness
Monitoring, and Response Monitoring. Each type is expanded upon in Section 2. In general, the
monitoring protocols described here can establish (i.) key indicators by which regulatory agencies can
measure compliance, (ii.) tools for evaluating the relative success of mitigation and compensation
measures designed to minimize or offset environmental impacts, and (iii.) a mechanism for improving
the management of the project and similar projects through the evaluation of project effects and the
integration of corporate learning. The protocols are grouped according to specific environmental
parameters and details of these parameters are in Table 7 to Table 22. A table of contents for a sample
monitoring plan report has been included in Appendix A as guidance.
Six primary parameters are identified that will be monitored for all projects. These include: water flow,
mitigation and compensation measures, riparian habitat, water temperature, stream morphology, and
fish abundance and behaviour. There are three secondary parameters that should be monitored on a
case-by-case basis: water quality, invertebrate abundance, and species at risk. Important conditions
and considerations pertinent to the monitoring of these parameters are provided throughout these
protocols. For example, some fish populations may require sampling of all critical life phases on an
annual basis (i.e. multiple sampling periods each year).
It is acknowledged that the proposed monitoring design will need to maintain a certain level of flexibility
and adaptability in order to handle major differences between projects and to incorporate new
knowledge and methodologies as they develop. Project-specific concerns will be raised during the EIA
and the monitoring program should accordingly be tailored to address effect predictions made in the
EIA. Additional monitoring effort may be required for certain environmental parameters depending on
project-specific circumstances. Consequently, these protocols avoid a fully prescriptive approach and
focus on describing the different types of monitoring that will be required and the range of variables that
may require measurement. For those parameters that will be monitored, the level of monitoring set forth
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
in these protocols is viewed as a minimum requirement due to the variability inherent in physical and
biological systems, and the current uncertainty surrounding the relationship between flow and fish
populations (Bradford and Heinonen 2008). Ultimately, the monitoring plan design is at the discretion of
the professionals undertaking the studies and the regulators overseeing the licensing of the project.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
RÉSUMÉ
Les protocoles de surveillance à long terme des projets hydroélectriques nouveaux et mis à niveau
déterminent les méthodes appropriées afin d'évaluer l'efficacité des activités d'atténuation et de
compensation entreprises pendant l'exécution et l'exploitation d'un projet ainsi que d'évaluer les effets
du projet sur les poissons et leur habitat. De plus, le présent document vise à promouvoir la
normalisation des méthodologies de surveillance, ce qui permettra d'uniformiser les exigences
réglementaires imposées aux promoteurs de projet et de comparer les données entre les différents
projets pour en évaluer les impacts environnementaux et généraliser les résultats à d'autres projets.
Étant donné la nécessité d'assurer une surveillance uniforme et soutenue, le document détaille aussi
les exigences de la surveillance de base pour effectuer une étude d‟impact sur l‟environnement (EIE)
afin de satisfaire aux exigences législatives et réglementaires en vertu de la Loi canadienne sur
l’évaluation environnementale et de la Loi sur les pêches. Ce document porte sur la ColombieBritannique et le Yukon, mais il peut aussi s'appliquer au reste du Canada.
Ces protocoles sont conçus pour déterminer les variables essentielles, aider à la planification et à la
conception de programmes de surveillance à long terme de référence et fournir une méthodologie
technique et des outils d'analyse. Par conséquent, les outils visant à évaluer les réponses biologiques,
physiques et chimiques des systèmes aquatiques à l'exécution et à l'exploitation d'un projet
hydroélectrique sont introduits dans les discussions ultérieures. Les données et les renseignements
obtenus grâce aux protocoles de surveillance présentés dans le présent document servent à
comprendre les interactions entre les projets et l'environnement en Colombie-Britannique et au Yukon
ainsi qu'à améliorer la protection de l'habitat aquatique.
Le présent rapport décrit trois types de surveillance : la surveillance de la conformité, la surveillance de
l'efficacité et la surveillance des réactions. On se penche sur chaque type dans la section 2. En
général, les protocoles de surveillance décrits établissent (i) des indicateurs essentiels qui permettent
aux organismes de réglementation d'évaluer la conformité; (ii) des outils pour évaluer le succès relatif
des mesures d'atténuation et de compensation conçues pour réduire au minimum ou compenser les
impacts environnementaux; (iii) des mécanismes pour améliorer la gestion du projet et de projets
similaires par le biais de l'évaluation des effets de projet et de l'intégration de l'apprentissage
organisationnel. Les protocoles sont regroupés selon des paramètres environnementaux particuliers;
les Table 7 à Table 22 donnent des précisions sur ces paramètres. À titre d'orientation, l'annexe A
fournit une table des matières d'un exemple de rapport de plan de surveillance.
On a déterminé six paramètres fondamentaux qui seront surveillés pour tous les projets : le débit d'eau,
les mesures d'atténuation et de compensation, l'habitat riverain, la température de l'eau, la morphologie
du cours d'eau, l'abondance et le comportement des poissons. Selon les cas, trois paramètres
secondaires devraient aussi faire l'objet de surveillance : la qualité de l'eau, l'abondance d'invertébrés
et les espèces en péril. Des conditions et des considérations importantes relatives à la surveillance de
ces paramètres sont contenues dans ces protocoles. Par exemple, pour certaines populations de
poissons, il faudra échantillonner tous les stades critiques du cycle de vie annuellement (c.-à-d.
plusieurs périodes d'échantillonnage par an).
On reconnaît que le plan de surveillance proposé devrait être suffisamment flexible et adaptable pour
pouvoir tenir compte des principales différences entre les projets et incorporer de nouvelles
connaissances et méthodologies au fur et à mesure qu'elles sont développées. Des préoccupations
propres au projet seront soulevées lors de l'EIE; le programme de surveillance devrait en tenir compte
et répondre aux prédictions des effets réalisées dans l'EIE. Un effort de surveillance supplémentaire
sera peut-être nécessaire pour certains paramètres environnementaux en fonction des circonstances
propres à chaque projet. Par conséquent, ces protocoles évitent une approche purement normative et
décrivent plutôt les différents types de surveillance qui seront nécessaires et l'éventail de variables que
l'on pourrait devoir mesurer. Pour les paramètres qui seront mesurés, le degré de surveillance établi
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
dans ces protocoles doit être considéré comme une exigence minimale en raison de la variabilité
inhérente aux systèmes biologiques et physiques et à l'incertitude qui entoure actuellement les rapports
entre le débit et les populations de poissons (Bradford et Heinonen 2008). En fin de compte, la
conception du plan de surveillance relève des professionnels qui entreprennent les études et des
organismes de réglementation qui contrôlent la délivrance des licences pour le projet.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
1
INTRODUCTION
1.1
PURPOSE AND INTENT
The primary objective of the long-term monitoring described in this report is to evaluate the
effectiveness of mitigation and compensation activities undertaken during the development and
operation of a project, and to evaluate the project‟s effects on fish and fish habitat.
A secondary objective of this document is to promote standardized monitoring methodologies that will
create consistency in the requirements of project proponents and allow for the comparison of data
across multiple projects to evaluate environmental effects and generalize results across projects. These
monitoring protocols will therefore also allow for an evaluation of the success of DFO‟s Habitat
Management Program.
In providing guidance for long-term monitoring purposes, and given the need for consistent monitoring
over time, the document also identifies the baseline monitoring requirements for completion of an
environmental impact assessment (EIA). Figure 1 shows the typical development sequence for a new
hydroelectric project developed by an independent power producer and shows the stages at which
these protocols will be used to assist in the collection of the necessary data and development of
suitable monitoring programs.
1.1.1
Applicable Projects
These protocols identify the parameters and types of monitoring recommended by Fisheries and
Oceans Canada (DFO) for the effective long-term monitoring of new hydroelectric projects, as well as
those undergoing significant upgrades. Significant upgrades are defined as those that may result in the
harmful alteration, disruption or destruction (HADD) of fish habitat and require review under the
Fisheries Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. F-14) and/or the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (S.C. 1992,
c. 37).
The protocols have been developed for British Columbia and Yukon Territory projects, though they may
be applicable elsewhere. The protocols apply to small (<50 MW) and large (≥50 MW but <200 MW)
run-of-river hydroelectric projects involving streams or lakes, as well as projects that involve the
creation of a storage reservoir. They do not apply to mega hydroelectric projects that fall under the
Comprehensive Study List Regulations (SOR/94-638). As such, these protocols do not apply to
hydroelectric facilities that: a) have a production capacity of 200 MW or more, b) involve the
construction of a dam that would result in the creation of a reservoir with a surface area that would
exceed the annual mean surface area of a natural water body by 1,500 hectares or more, or c) involve
the expansion of a dam that would result in the increase in surface area of a reservoir by more than 35
per cent.
1
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Figure 1. Typical Project Development Sequence for an Independent Power Producer (modified from Province of
British Columbia 2010).
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
1.1.2
Relation to Legislation and Policy
Monitoring is an important component of DFO‟s regulatory program and is required of most projects as
condition of Authorization under the federal Fisheries Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. F-14). Monitoring is
necessary both to confirm compliance with regulatory requirements and to assess whether these
requirements are sufficient to ensure that there is no net loss of the productive capacity of fish habitat.
DFO regulates activities under the Fisheries Act to prevent obstructions to fish passage (Section 20), to
ensure sufficient flows for fish (Section 22), to prevent the killing of fish by means other than fishing
(Section 32), and to prevent a HADD (Section 35). Under the Species at Risk Act (Government of
Canada 2002), projects that may affect listed wildlife species or their critical habitat must adopt
measures to avoid or lessen adverse effects, and monitor project effects. The measures taken should
be consistent with the applicable recovery strategies and action plans.
When project activities are low risk, DFO Operational Statements may apply. These statements outline
conditions and measures for avoiding harmful alteration, disruption and destruction of fish habitat, thus
ensuring compliance with subsection 35(1) of the Fisheries Act and therefore not subject to monitoring.
However, where project activities are not covered under an Operational Statement, this document
provides detailed guidance on the appropriate monitoring program components.
When proposed projects have the potential to cause a HADD, DFO applies the guiding principle of no
net loss (NNL) of fish habitat productive capacity, set out in the Policy for the Management of Fish
Habitat (the Habitat Policy; DFO 1986). Under this principle, DFO will require the proponent to relocate
or redesign the proposed development to avoid the potential HADD, or to fully mitigate any impacts the
proposed development may have on fish and fish habitat. DFO may authorize a HADD under Section
35(2) of the Fisheries Act when the Department is satisfied that all reasonable and feasible measures
have been employed to avoid or mitigate impacts, and any potential residual impacts are determined to
be insignificant and “compensatable”.
An assessment of a HADD from hydroelectric projects should consider the broad definition of fish
habitat, which includes “spawning grounds and nursery, rearing, food supply and migration areas on
which fish depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes” (DFO 1985).
Accordingly, aquatic invertebrates produced instream, and riparian habitat that supports terrestrial
insect production, are part of the habitat that will be assessed.
As outlined in DFO (2010), the decision to authorize a HADD is at the discretion of the DFO Habitat
Management practitioner assigned to the project. The decision as to whether compensation is required
is policy-based and made after the acceptability of the HADD is determined. Compensation is defined
in the Habitat Policy (DFO 1986) as: the replacement of natural habitat, increase in the productivity of
existing habitat, or maintenance of fish production by artificial means in circumstances dictated by
social and economic conditions, where mitigation techniques and other measures are not adequate to
maintain habitats for Canada’s fisheries resources. If a HADD is authorized on the condition that
compensation is completed, a failure to complete that compensation could invalidate the Fisheries Act
Authorization (DFO 2010). This would, in effect, leave the proponent with a HADD that was not
authorized for which they could be prosecuted pursuant to subsection 35(1) of the Fisheries Act (DFO
2010). Monitoring to demonstrate the ongoing effectiveness of compensation is therefore a critical
component of monitoring programs for projects where a HADD is authorized.
In order to conduct an EIA for a project, and ensure compliance with the federal Fisheries Act, DFO will
require adequate hydrometric and hydrologic data, analyses, and assessments of flow modifications
associated with the project. Also required are appropriate mitigation plans that adequately address fish
passage obstructions, physical HADDs, or fish mortality due to entrainment. Furthermore, the
proponent is required to monitor compliance with mitigation and compensation measures listed in the
Fisheries Act Authorization (compliance monitoring), and to determine the effectiveness of these
measures in achieving NNL (effectiveness monitoring). Long-term monitoring of the project as a whole
3
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
will also allow an assessment of how fish and fish habitat have responded to project implementation
(response monitoring). Further discussion of these three types of monitoring is provided in Section 2.
1.1.3
Significance to Fishery Resources
These monitoring protocols are intended to yield information on which decisions may be based to
protect fishery resources for current and future generations. This goal can be achieved through
conducting EIAs and monitoring the key parameters that are relevant to the potential adverse effects
predicted in the EIA. These protocols are designed to assist proponents of run-of-river hydroelectric
projects, and the concerned regulatory agencies in BC and the Yukon Territory, identify and mitigate
potential adverse effects on fish and fish habitat that may result from new and upgraded projects.
There are many reasons to strive for the protection and sustainable management of fishery resources
in BC and the Yukon. First, the robustness of fishery resources is an important indicator of the overall
aquatic health of aquatic ecosystems. Second, fish are a key component of many ecosystems that
affect the dynamics of local and regional food webs and overall ecosystem interactions. Third, fish
provide numerous important economic, social and cultural benefits, supporting Aboriginal and
recreational fisheries as well as industries such as sport fishing, tourism, and commercial fishing.
Fourth and finally, healthy fish communities are considered to be inherently invaluable by many people,
providing a source of intrinsic pleasure. As a natural public resource, the management of fisheries has
been entrusted to governmental authorities and thus should be protected on behalf of current and
future generations who seek to enjoy and use them.
1.1.4
Effects Assessment and Cumulative Effects
Standardized and consistent monitoring facilitates the comparison of project impacts predicted in the
EIAs against actual project effects. These results may then be used to identify, minimize, and mitigate
potential impacts of similar projects in the future. Such monitoring also allows for the consideration of
project effects in concert with other existing or future projects at a regional scale. This analysis is
referred to as cumulative effects assessment. Consequently, there may be a requirement that
monitoring results are publically accessible, in order to facilitate regional analyses of cumulative effects.
It is important to define cumulative effects to minimize ambiguity surrounding the term. The Canadian
Environmental Agency defines cumulative effects as:
“The effect on the environment which results from effects of a project when combined
with those of other past, existing, and imminent projects and activities. These may occur
over a certain period of time and distance.”
Thus, a cumulative effects assessment (CEA) should consider any potential impacts to fish habitat that
are likely to result from the residual environmental effects of multiple hydropower projects, in
1
combination with the effects of other projects that have been or are likely to be carried out . The CEA
methodology is based on the framework outlined by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
(CEAA) guidelines (Hegmann et al. 1999). The following actions are taken during a CEA:
Identification of residual environment effects of the Project;
Identification of spatial and temporal boundaries appropriate for addressing cumulative effects;
Identification of past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future projects for inclusion in the
CEA;
1
Future projects are considered only if they will be carried out as defined by CEAA, which is normally taken to mean projects
and activities for which regulatory approval has been granted or will be sought.
4
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Analysis to characterize potential interactions between residual environment effects of the
hydropower projects identified in the AEA and likely effects of other projects that have been or
will be carried out;
Identification of mitigation measures to avoid and/or reduce identified cumulative environmental
effects;
Characterization of residual cumulative environmental effects using magnitude, geographical
extent, duration, frequency, reversibility and context; and,
Determination of the significance of residual cumulative environmental effects and the likelihood
of any predicted significant adverse residual cumulative environmental effects; determination
made by comparing cumulative residual effects against thresholds and/or land use objectives.
Any project that is proposed for a stream or watershed with other licensed users must consider the
cumulative effects of water withdrawal. The CEA is important as the individual environmental effect of
one project may be significantly less than the cumulative environmental effect of multiple hydroelectric
projects on the same river. For instance, there may be cumulative effects when a cluster of projects
situated in the same watershed share ecological habitat, general access, forest service roads,
transmission lines, transformer, control and protection circuitry, and construction facilities such as
docks and staging areas. The impacts from each individual project (e.g. increased erosion and
sediment loading, rapid flow fluctuations, decreased riparian vegetation, etc.) may be considered
insignificant with mitigation, but the cumulative effects of a cluster of projects may produce an overall
significant adverse effect to fish and fish habitat.
Cumulative effects can affect Valued Ecosystem Components (VECs) such as water quality, fish and
fish habitat, and fish species in a number of ways. Water quality may be affected through cumulative
changes to water temperature, suspended sediments, and/or overall water chemistry. Even if the
effects of a single hydro project are minimal and largely mitigated though best practices, the cumulative
effects of multiple projects have the potential to produce a significant residual effect. For example,
sediment loadings may be negligible from an individual project, but significant when the effect of a
cluster of projects is combined. Another example is flow ramping, where residual effects associated
with ramping rates of a single project may not significantly impact fish but flow ramping from additional
projects in the same watershed may collectively have significant adverse effects on the fish community.
Cumulative effects may adversely affect fish habitat such as rearing and overwintering, spawning and
incubation, migratory, riparian, and macroinvertebrate habitat, and the effects may be transmitted to
fish and fish habitat through a variety of pathways. As one example, a range of cumulative effects may
arise from the removal of riparian vegetation as it protects water quality, stabilizes stream banks,
regulates stream temperatures, provides cover, and is a source of food organisms and nutrients for fish
(Chilibeck et al. 1993). Fish species may also be impacted as a result of the cumulative effects
produced by a cluster of hydroelectric projects. Generally, cumulative effects that may result from
project activities are measured based on their potential to impact fish life-stages, distribution,
abundance, and/or growth rates.
In a national review of CEA across Canada, the existing level of follow-up monitoring was identified as
a key shortcoming because even the best analysis of cumulative effects is useless without follow-up
monitoring and subsequent mitigative action as required (Duinker and Greig 2006). The adoption of
standardized monitoring protocols will greatly improve the ability to assess, compare and manage
cumulative effects on a regional scale. Methods for analyzing cumulative effects and corresponding
measures to mitigate them are described in Hegmann et al. (1999). This document should be referred
to for further consideration and details pertaining to CEA.
5
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
1.1.5
Adaptive Management
Monitoring provides an opportunity for adaptive management (AM) in the operation of the project,
whereby DFO may consider adjustments to project mitigations such as minimum flow requirements or
ramping rates, levels of habitat compensation, or the design and effort of the monitoring program. The
use of AM implies that managers and practitioners recognize that for projects where uncertainty about
potential effects is high, management objectives may be more quickly and surely achieved by modifying
operations in response to monitoring information.
Science based AM operates on the following premises (PRRIP 2006):
Uncertainty exists in a managed system, and reduction of uncertainty can improve
management;
Uncertainty can be reduced through adaptive management but can never be eliminated;
Management decisions must be made despite the uncertainty;
Long-term monitoring and research programs are established in order to evaluate management
decisions and to continually improve the knowledge on which these decisions should be based;
and
Learning about the effects of management will hasten improvement of management decisions in
the future, resulting in more rapid and cost-effective attainment of management objectives.
2
AM first acknowledges uncertainty by improving the understanding of management-ecosystem
interactions during project operation and then addresses uncertainty by integrating learning into
management activities. For new and upgraded hydro projects, the AM cycle can be applied to improve
the understanding of the effects of ramping rates and minimum flows on fish habitat by changing
operations in response to learning within the monitoring cycle. Response monitoring is proposed here
as a mechanism for incorporating this type of learning into project operations (see Section 2.3).
For AM to be effective, monitoring indicators must be sensitive to anticipated environmental change.
This document specifies the potential indicator and specifies the appropriate methods and the intensity
of measurement required to detect effects within a monitoring framework. Sensitive indicators can be
3
used to guide decisions during operation by defining thresholds (e.g., exceeding a temperature
criterion) and specifying conditional management actions (e.g., release of additional flow).
1.2
TYPES OF HYDROELECTRIC PROJECTS
Hydroelectric projects can be grouped into different types based on physical layout and the mode of
operation. Each project type poses common potential impacts to the environment, with some types
posing additional potential impacts. Different project types may require different monitoring methods,
though the specific monitoring components are mostly common to all projects. The monitoring
components recommended here have been organized in two sections: those applied on streams (both
creeks and rivers) and those applied on lakes and reservoirs. The term stream-based is used here to
refer to typical run-of-river projects lacking a lake intake or reservoir. Note however, that run-of-river
projects can have a reservoir or an intake on a lake.
2
The use of the term „uncertainty‟ in this document is consistent with the following definition: “uncertainty is the situation in
which the information that describes a problem under study is deficient or becomes impossible to describe in future settings
due to more than one possible outcome.” (Medema et al. 2008).
3
A threshold can be broadly defined as a breakpoint between two states of a system. In AM, exceedance of negative
thresholds that indicate undesirable system development is a particularly important part of the monitoring process (Sullivan et
al. 2010).
6
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
All projects have an intake structure (gallery, weir, or dam) that entrains flow, a conveyance structure
(penstock, tunnel, or canal) that delivers water downstream, a powerhouse where electricity is
generated (surface or underground), and a tailrace (pipe or open channel) that conveys water from the
powerhouse back to the stream channel. For environmental assessment and monitoring purposes,
hydroelectric projects are divided into upstream, diversion, and downstream sections (Lewis et al.
2004). The term section is used to identify the proximity of one or more stream reaches relative to the
project intake and powerhouse. An example of typical project layouts showing the location of each
section is provided in Figure 2.
The project intake is the point of diversion (POD) on the stream. Intake structures range from a pipe
into an existing lake or pond, a gallery on the riverbank with no cross-channel structure, a low head
4
diversion weir across the channel, or a dam that impounds substantial quantities of water. Intakes on
streams may cause no measureable increase on the water level upstream (in the case of a pipe or
gallery intake), may backwater the channel upstream as a headpond but only within the existing high
water perimeter (in the case of a diversion weir), or may backwater beyond the high water mark and
inundate riparian habitats (larger diversion weirs and dams). The differences in the potential impacts of
each structure are dramatic, and must be considered when environmental monitoring programs are
designed. For example, a low head diversion weir will have a high rate of turnover (hourly) and will not
alter stream temperature or chemistry in a measureable or significant manner. In contrast, a major dam
may substantially increase thermal loading, stratifying the water body and in turn altering water
temperatures and chemical processes. This may lead to significant changes in downstream water
quality, among other potential effects. Accordingly, the monitoring of a project with a storage reservoir
would include water quality monitoring of the reservoir upstream of the dam, as well as in both the
upstream and downstream stream sections. In contrast, a low head weir would require water quality
monitoring in the upstream and downstream sections, but not necessarily upstream of the weir in the
headpond.
The operating mode of hydroelectric projects determines the location and significance of impacts and
may influence the type and magnitude of monitoring required. Run-of-river projects by definition do not
substantially alter the magnitude or timing of stream flow (except within the diversion reach),
maintaining natural flow patterns and changes in water surface elevation upstream of the POD and
downstream from the tailrace. Storage projects generally alter both the magnitude and timing of stream
flow throughout the affected portion of the stream, holding water back in a headpond, reservoir, or lake
reservoir, and releasing it in unnatural patterns downstream from the POD.
The temporal pattern of the storage and release of water can have significant consequences for the
environment. Short term (daily or less) storage allows hydropeaking operations (i.e. generate electricity
in response to daily demand) that may not alter mean daily flows but that may drastically change the
flow magnitude and ramping rate within a day, with consequences to fish and habitat. Natural flow
changes are usually relatively slow compared to those induced by hydroelectric operational changes,
particularly during low flow periods. Following a flood, natural river flow usually declines slowly over
time, in contrast to changes induced by hydro projects, which can be drastic regardless of flow stage.
Environment Canada‟s Environmental ChoiceM Program (ECP) national certification criteria (Electricity Renewable Low-impact) include projects that “as a maximum, causes as much water to flow out of the
headpond as is received in any 48-hour period”. However, this does not mean that unbridled flow
changes within a 48-hour period are acceptable. Indeed, controls on the rate of flow change are critical
to avoid impacts to aquatic habitat.
4
A weir is a type of small overflow dam used to create a headpond for water abstraction purposes. A widely accepted
definition of a large dam is given by the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) as a dam 'having a height of 15
meters from the foundation or, if the height is between 5 to 15 meters, having a reservoir capacity of more than 3 million cubic
meters'.
7
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Seasonal storage projects store water during periods of naturally high flows, releasing this water during
low flow seasons. Storage projects pose major effects, both positive and negative, to the downstream
environment and can affect the upstream environment by altering water levels on a seasonal basis
when reservoirs are drawn down. Seasonal storage projects warrant extensive study of downstream
and upstream effects and will invariably increase both the number of monitoring components required
and the intensity of sampling within each component. While run-of-river projects typically have fewer
effects upstream and downstream of the project, significant impacts can nevertheless occur in the
diversion reach depending on the magnitude and timing of flows remaining in the stream channel.
Different combinations of project type and operating mode pose different potential impacts to the
environment, which in turn require different combinations of components within monitoring programs.
To generalize, run-of-river projects with low head weirs will require the fewest components and storage
projects with large dams will require the most. However, the number of monitoring components and the
magnitude of sampling effort will vary with the specific project layout, environmental characteristics, and
the type and importance of the biota present. Proponents are advised that storage projects have the
potential to cause complex impacts that will require more intensive monitoring.
1.3
LINKAGE TO ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
Water withdrawal and regulation has the potential to create a wide variety of direct and indirect impacts
on fish habitat. Changes in water flow affect physical habitat, which in turn can impact fish growth,
survival, and reproductive success, as well as food supply. The most significant effects can be
expected through well-known pathways described in the literature on the effects of hydroelectric
projects. To quantify effects resulting from alteration in river flows (magnitude, frequency, duration,
timing, and rate of change), detailed analysis will be required on most streams through an
environmental assessment, supported by baseline studies and predictive analysis. Through the
assessment process, valued ecosystem components (VECs) relevant to fish and fish habitat will be
identified, impact hypotheses constructed, and potential effects quantified. This in turn will guide the
selection of parameters for inclusion in the monitoring program.
A linkage diagram is an effective way to relate project actions to physical habitat changes and describe
potential impact pathways. A linkage diagram identifies the potential hypothesized effect inferred by the
pathway and facilitates the design of both the effects assessment and monitoring program.
Understanding these pathways during the environmental assessment helps identify which physical and
biological variables are appropriate for monitoring. By clearly specifying potential effects through the
linkage diagram, decisions about which components to include and exclude from the monitoring
program can be justified and documented. Where potential effects are identified, mitigation and/or
compensation will be specified to avoid or offset these effects, and necessary monitoring parameters
may be identified to assess the efficacy of mitigation and compensation. Additional guidance on the
selection of monitoring parameters and a rationale for their inclusion in a monitoring program are
provided in Section 3.
Professionals experienced in the assessment of the effects of hydro projects will identify the likely
impacts of a particular project and design a monitoring program that can effectively monitor these
effects. As a starting point, Lewis et al. 2004 summarized and organized typical impacts relevant to
hydro projects in BC and the Yukon that arise from water withdrawal by issue. Literature of the effects
of hydro projects provides additional explanation on potential mechanisms of effect, and professionals
are advised to keep abreast of the latest published information on these potential effects. A linkage
diagram that relates project actions to physical habitat changes will serve to describe potential impact
pathways, clearly identifying the potential hypothesized effect inferred by the pathway, and facilitating
the design of both the effects assessment and monitoring program. Understanding these pathways
during the environmental assessment helps identify which physical and biological variables are
appropriate for monitoring. By clearly specifying potential effects through the linkage diagram, decisions
8
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
about which components to include and exclude from the monitoring program can be explained,
justified, and documented.
Impacts from hydroelectric projects can be grouped into two types, operational and footprint. Footprint
impacts are permanent impacts associated with project structures that persist continuously until project
decommissioning. The riparian and aquatic habitat area flooded behind an intake weir is a footprint
impact, as is the riparian and aquatic habitat area occupied at the intake structure and tailrace.
Operational impacts are not associated with a project structure, and in theory could be altered during
the life of the project by adjusting project control settings. Operational impacts can arise downstream of
the intake in the diversion reach and downstream of the powerhouse in the downstream reach.
There is not always a clear-cut distinction between footprint and operational impacts, leading to
confusion over which impacts will persist for the life of the project, and which impacts can be readily
modified. If an impact can only be avoided by changing the physical structure of a project, it is
considered to be a footprint impact. For example, the extent of backwatering by a diversion weir cannot
be modified in a substantive way by a change in operation, i.e. the lowering of the headpond level,
because that would dewater the intake and prevent project operation. Accordingly, backwatering by a
diversion weir is considered a footprint impact. On the other hand, the extent of dewatering downstream
of the diversion weir can be ameliorated by increasing the instream flow release, while still allowing the
project to operate, albeit with less power generation.
The distinction between footprint and operating impacts is important from a monitoring perspective,
since footprint impact monitoring is typically limited to one-time measurement of the affected area (e.g.
the areas of riparian clearing and area of aquatic habitat occupied by the diversion weir), whereas
operational impacts often require continuous or annual monitoring for several years. The program
components identified here address both operational and footprint impacts.
1.4
MONITORING DESIGN
There are several designs available for environmental monitoring programs. Simple before-after (BA)
comparisons suffer from the confounding effects of temporal changes in climate and biological
variables that may affect the project site independently of project activities. The before-after controlimpact (BACI) experimental design addresses this problem by simultaneous monitoring at both the
project („impact‟) and „control‟ sites (i.e., similar streams sections and/or lakes unaffected by
hydroelectric or other water withdrawal projects) for a pre-determined period, both before and after
project development. The BACI design accounts for possible environmental variability that affects both
the project and the control sites similarly and is therefore the recommended approach for monitoring
change in aquatic habitats (Pearson et al. 2005).
In the case of run of river projects, control reaches are often located upstream of the diversion reach.
This may create a systematic bias because these areas typically are higher elevation, lower flow, lower
gradient, more confined, colder, and are less likely to support fish. As a result, apparent differences
detected between the impact and treatment sites may have little to do with project effects but may
rather reflect covariance in natural differences between reaches. To offset this weakness, monitoring
parameters such as temperature, water quality, and invertebrate abundance can be incorporated into
the study design to tease out their effect from project-related effects. As Weins and Parker (1995)
explain, the inclusion of natural factors in the analysis is a post-facto way of attaining the randomization
inherent to traditional experimental design. Measuring natural factors and the response variable
simultaneously can quantify natural differences between impact and reference areas. The use of
covariates tends to reduce variance and increase the power of tests, but does reduce effective sample
size by affecting the degrees of freedom in the analysis.
Successful experimentation design relies on replication. In a BACI design, „replicate‟ sites are
established in the control and treatment reaches. However, the multiple sites sampled within each
reach are not independent because upstream conditions influence downstream sites, including the level
9
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
of effect from flow regulation. This bias is called pseudoreplication (Hurlbert 1984, Stewart-Oaten et al.
1986) and the cause is spatial and temporal correlation among sites within the reaches. The effect of
pseudoreplication is to bias the estimate of error in estimates of monitoring parameters, possibly to the
point that inferential statistics may be unreliable. As in the assessment of unplanned impacts, some
level of pseudoreplication is inevitable (Weins and Parker 1995), requiring that the experimental design
include strategies to deal with the non-independence among samples. Part of the strategy may be to
limit the interpretation of data strictly to the project site and not generalize monitoring results beyond the
project-scale.
Differences within a reach in the extent of flow regulation may be correlated with effect, particularly
where local inflow varies greatly within a reach. Spatial differences in the magnitude of effect have been
used to infer the effects of flow regulation from storage dams on Chinook salmon (Bradford 1994) and
the effects of stranding and winter mortality in Atlantic salmon (Ugedal et al. 2008). Spatial trends in
effect may be detectable in long diversion reaches with significant local inflow. Such systems may
provide a passive opportunity to compare the effects of flow, by contrasting effects between years with
widely different inflow. Another strategy is to actively vary the level of effect, which allows greater
precision in effect measurement and can detect nonlinearity responses. Adaptive management with
experimental manipulation of instream flow is a preferred experimental design for assessing the effects
of flow alteration and has been used to contrast the effects of small changes in instream flow (Bradford
et al. 2011). Some projects may afford the opportunity to vary instream flows by year to test the effects
regulation.
It is not always possible to obtain two years of baseline data, and the variance between the years may
be so great as to limit their utility in a BACI design. Alternate approaches are available, and although
not ideal from a theoretical perspective, may in some circumstances yield more definitive results. The
before-after design (BA) is one alternative, as is the trend-by-time design described by Wiens and
Parker (1995), which requires no baseline data and relies on comparisons of trends in impacted and
control habitats. The Reference Condition Approach (RCA) is another design alternative that has grown
in popularity in recent years. A brief overview of RCA and its potential application to hydroelectric
projects are briefly described here. Refer to Bailey et al. (2004) and Environment Canada‟s CABIN
(Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network) program website (http://www.ec.gc.ca/rcbacabin/Default.asp?lang=En&n=72AD8D96-1) for further information.
The RCA is based on characterizing and grouping undisturbed reference sites over a wide range of
natural environmental variation, developing a predictive model that relates the habitat attributes of
these sites to their biotic community, and then predicting the expected community assemblage for a
particular project site („test site‟) in reference condition (Bailey et al. 2004). Comparing the predicted
community to actual community composition assesses if, and to what extent, the test site is disturbed
and not in reference condition. Most RCA models are developed for streams and use benthic
macroinvertebrates as indicators of habitat and water quality; however, periphyton (Mazor et al. 2006)
and fish (Chessman et al. 2008) have also been used. Key requirements for applying the RCA design
are: sampling at an adequate number of reference sites to fully characterize natural environmental
variation, sampling a biotic community that is sensitive to site-scale environmental conditions, and the
use of consistent data sampling methods for test sites and reference sites. Environment Canada‟s
CABIN (Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network, http://www.ec.gc.ca/rcbacabin/Default.asp?lang=En&n=72AD8D96-1) program has national standards for RCA sampling.
1.5
BASELINE DATA REQUIREMENTS
The basis of any effective monitoring program is a reliable baseline data set against which to monitor
and compare future conditions. The environmental baseline data collected for the EIA provides the
information necessary to predict the environmental impacts of the project, as well as providing the
necessary baseline data for long-term monitoring. The baseline characterization of the environment
should typically be implemented during the first year of the EIA, using the methods identified here,
10
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
which are consistent with the methods described in Hatfield et al. (2007). However, in general, two
years of data should be collected pre-construction (baseline data). After construction, monitoring should
continue for several years with the same methods, sites and timing of sampling. The EIA and
monitoring programs are thus integrated and consistent, providing more efficient, comparable, and thus
more statistically powerful assessment.
Projects with complex environmental issues or highly valuable habitats may require more years of
baseline characterization. Streams that support anadromous species, highly valued sport fish or a
complex fish assemblage, may need to be monitored for one life-cycle of the anadromous species
present, and/or sufficient time to gain a thorough understanding of migration into and out of the project
reach. Potamodromy – migration solely within freshwater – is a common life-history trait in the family
Salmonidae (Northcote 1997), and other fish families (Lucas and Baras 2001). Understanding how
habitat within the project reach supports the existing fish population, both spatially and temporally, is
necessary to predict, mitigate and monitor project impacts.
For environmental assessment and monitoring purposes, aquatic systems with hydroelectric projects
are divided into upstream, diversion, and downstream sections (Lewis et al. 2004). The term section is
used to identify the proximity of one or more stream reaches relative to the project intake and
powerhouse. An example of typical project layouts showing the location of each section is provided in
Figure 2. Monitoring sites should be located in at least two of these sections, and possibly all three.
Where project effects are predicted upstream of the intake weir from backwatering by the headpond,
monitoring of these effects should be carried out depending on their predicted magnitude. Although
there are no generally accepted rules of thumb for estimating what magnitude of effect warrants
monitoring, we recommend more than one year of monitoring bedload accumulation (Section 3.1.5)
where infilling of the headpond is expected. If fish are present in the upstream reach, habitat monitoring
will be required of the backwatered headpond to assess if habitat conditions have changed significantly
from pre-project conditions in the diversion and upstream reaches. Because there are no standards that
define what a significant change may be, we recommend comparing the dimension of the predicted
headpond to natural pools within the reach. The contrast in pre-project width, length, volume, and
spacing of typical habitat types may inform a decision on whether the headpond will represent a locally
significant habitat feature. In steep channels the spacing of steps and pools is, on average, two to three
times the channel width (Charlton 2008), whereas riffle-pool sequences in gravel-bed channels have
spacing of five to seven times the channel width (Keller and Melhorn 1978). Thus, headponds greater
than seven times the channel width may be viewed as disrupting the typical pattern of habitat types,
which may warrant further monitoring to determine the effects that this has on the availability and
suitability of fish habitat and subsequently fish use.
The BACI design is effective when there is a strong correlation in natural conditions across the control
and impact sites. Accordingly, establishing these sites in different sections in the same stream is
preferred, provided that the fish species and life stages of interest inhabit both control and impact
sections. For run-of-river hydroelectric projects with stream intakes, it is recommended that control sites
be selected upstream of the intake and headpond to avoid the confounding influence of backwatering,
while impact sites be located within the diversion section. However, the selection of a control site is not
straightforward because of differences in natural factors between stream reaches, which may influence
the results of monitoring.
Where upstream sections may themselves be affected by development (e.g., impacts to fish migration),
or where they differ significantly from proposed diversion sections, either biologically (e.g., different fish
species present), or morphologically (e.g., upstream section consists of two small, steep tributaries
whereas the diversion section is a single larger channel), control sites may be located in a nearby
stream that shares similar biological and morphological characteristics. The BACI design will be weaker
in this case if variation in natural conditions over time is not similar for the control and impact streams.
In some cases where no single section provides an appropriate control, either the before-after design or
alternatives may be required. In the event that multiple hydroelectric projects are developed in close
11
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
proximity to one another, an among-streams monitoring program should be designed. A multi-project
comparison provides greater power to the monitoring program to detect real impacts, especially if the
streams host similar hydrological, topographic, and biotic conditions.
For projects based at the outlet of a lake, it is also beneficial to identify a control lake to ensure that
observed changes are not incorrectly attributed to project impacts. The control lake will ideally be in the
same watershed and share similar physical and biological characteristics, such as area, average depth,
trophic level, and fish community composition. In terms of size, we suggest a control lake with an area
and average depth ±50% of that recorded in the impact lake be considered a suitable control. If no
suitable control lake exists, and for those projects in which a new reservoir will be created, a beforeafter (BA) monitoring methodology will be required. In these circumstances, sampling will be required to
determine if observed effects are a result of project or environmental influences. This should include the
monitoring the water quality of lake/reservoir inflows, natural factors that will influence post-project
conditions and could confound monitoring results.
Where applicable, details on the baseline data requirements for each of the parameters to be monitored
are included in the relevant sections below. These requirements are based on the adoption of the BACI
approach; however, as noted above, there may be cases where the BACI approach is not the most
appropriate design and alternatives such as BA or RCA are more suitable. Baseline and long-term data
requirements in these instances will vary by parameter, the amount of natural variability in the
parameter being measured, and the magnitude of change (i.e., effect size) that the monitoring program
aims to detect (see Section 2.3).
12
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Figure 2.Examples of upstream, diversion, and downstream sections for three hypothetical hydroelectric projects
(taken from Lewis et al. 2004).
13
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
1.6
PROFESSIONAL REQUIREMENTS
Monitoring data will be used to assess compliance with provincial water licences, Fisheries Act
Authorizations and other provincial and federal regulations, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of
these regulations to ensure no net loss in the productive capacity of fish habitat. Accordingly, the
design and execution of a monitoring program must be stamped and signed off by a certified
professional with appropriate experience (e.g. R.P.Bio.).
Environmental impact monitoring is a specialized field, requiring the collection, analysis, interpretation
and reporting of specific physical and biological information. The expectation is that studies will be
undertaken as described in the relevant inventory and assessment standards that have been
developed. These standards are referenced in this document and their use is recommended wherever
applicable. The adoption of alternative methods must be supported by a scientifically defensible
argument, with references to peer-reviewed literature that justify the decision.
Professionals must consider a host of constraints when designing sampling programs, including data
quality, time and access constraints, and safety concerns. Professionals are expected to make best
efforts to obtain the necessary monitoring data, consistent with the ethical standards of their respective
5
regulating bodies . Steep, confined stream channels where run-of-river hydroelectric projects are
typically situated can be difficult, costly, and dangerous to access. Although kayaks and rock climbing
techniques have been used to access steep canyons, the value of the information collected from such
habitats may be minimally superior to that obtained from sampling in adjacent, more accessible
habitats. Furthermore, inferring habitat values and potential impacts from adjacent, more accessible
sections is likely to be conservative in favour of fish, given that accessible sections usually provide
lower gradient and less confined channels with higher quality habitat. Given this, the risks of sampling
severe habitats may not be warranted if valid and conservative inferences can be made from nearby
habitats.
2
TYPES OF MONITORING
The mandate of DFO‟s Fish Habitat Management Program is to conserve and protect fish habitat with a
view to ensuring the sustainability of Canada‟s marine and freshwater fisheries resources. As part of
the Habitat Management Program, the Habitat Compliance and Monitoring Framework outlines the
requirements for monitoring and how results are used to evaluate, modify and improve Program
delivery. Three types of monitoring are detailed in the Habitat Compliance and Monitoring Framework:
Compliance: verifying compliance with the habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act;
Effectiveness: evaluating the effectiveness of regulatory and non-regulatory activities
undertaken to conserve and protect fish habitat; and
Fish Habitat Health (Response): monitoring trends in the quantity and quality of fish habitat.
The structure and types of monitoring required are the same for hydroelectric projects. However, within
this document, fish habitat health monitoring is referred to as response monitoring to highlight that
monitoring is designed to evaluate the response in fish habitat parameters to a particular development,
rather than the general health of fish habitat in a particular region.
Monitoring is important and justifiable for many reasons. In particular, by tracking a given project‟s
actual impacts, monitoring reduces the environmental risks associated with that project, and
accordingly allows for project modifications to be made where required. In addition to the three types of
5
The College of Applied Biology code of ethics (section 2i) states “In order to maintain professional integrity, the member will
not allow his/her professional judgement to be influenced by non-biological considerations.”
14
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
monitoring outlined in sections 2.1-2.3, monitoring provides data and information that is utilized for a
wide range of purposes, such as:
To establish long term trends in natural unperturbed systems;
To evaluate measured conditions against a standard or guideline level;
To detect and evaluate any adverse effects to VECs (e.g. fish species, fish habitat, water
quality) at different phases of a project (e.g. pre-development, construction, operation; etc.);
To perform spatial and temporal analyses of any detected changes and identify relationships;
To estimate variation that is inherent within a system and to compare estimations with variation
observed in other areas.
Overall, the three types of monitoring proposed here can collectively establish (i.) key indicators by
which regulatory agencies can measure compliance, (ii.) tools that can be utilized to evaluate the
relative success of mitigation and compensation measures designed to minimize or offset
environmental impacts, and (iii.) a mechanism for improving the management of the project and similar
projects through the evaluation of project effects and the integration of corporate learning.
Figure 3 provides a simplified illustration of the major differences between the three types of monitoring
and how they are generally used over the life of a project. Compliance and effectiveness monitoring
data are used by DFO staff to evaluate if predictions of the EIA and conditions of the Fisheries Act
Authorization have been met. Response data are used by DFO staff over the longer term to build
corporate knowledge and inform decisions around the review of future projects.
15
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Figure 3.Simplified overview of project development and selected types of monitoring (modified from Everitt 1992).
16
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
2.1
COMPLIANCE MONITORING
The objective of compliance monitoring is to evaluate whether the project is complying with the
conditions of its water licence and Fisheries Act Authorization. The following project components
will be monitored for compliance: water flow, ramping rates, mitigation measures, compensation
habitat, and footprint impacts.
To ensure consistency and standardization across regions when assessing compliance with
Authorizations, letters of advice or operational statements and to aid in tracking information, DFO
employs the Program Activity Tracking for Habitat (PATH) system. This computer based tracking
system includes a Compliance Monitoring Form that is completed by DFO staff during a site visit, with
the information then entered into the system for tracking, storage and analysis purposes. One section
of the Compliance Monitoring Form consists of a series of questions, which when assessing
compliance with an Authorization are as follows:
Is the work/undertaking completed as proposed?
Was the HADD as described in the Authorization?
Other than the HADD, were the impacts to fish and fish habitat as described in the
Authorization?
Did the proponent conform to the mitigation measures contained in the Authorization?
Were the mitigation measures effective in preventing impacts to fish and fish habitat?
Are (or were) there remedial measures or mitigation measures required that are (or were) not in
the Authorization?
If required, were the remedial measures or mitigation measures implemented and/or conformed
with?
Were the compensation requirements implemented as described?
Is the compensation on the same site?
Similar questions regarding the conformity to requirements, and the use and effectiveness of mitigation
measures, are posed when assessing compliance with letters of advice or operational statements.
Information on required actions, the need for ongoing compliance monitoring, and dates for future site
visits are also entered into the PATH system.
Further guidance on compliance monitoring undertaken by Fisheries and Oceans Canada can be found
in the Habitat Compliance Decision Framework (DFO 2007).
2.2
EFFECTIVENESS MONITORING
Effectiveness monitoring evaluates the success of prescribed mitigation and compensation
measures stipulated in the EIA and/or Fisheries Act Authorization to minimize or offset
environmental impacts. Mitigation measures are adopted to avoid or minimize the negative impacts of
project construction and operation. In contrast, compensation refers to the intentional activities
undertaken to offset unavoidable project impacts. Compensation offsets negative impacts by providing
benefits at the impacted site, or as nearby as possible, thus ensuring the no net loss of fish habitat
productive capacity.
Mitigation and compensation measures will therefore be monitored for two reasons: a) to ensure
compliance with conditions set forth in the water licence and Fisheries Act Authorization, and b) to
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
evaluate the effectiveness of the measures in minimizing, mitigating and compensating for project
impacts.
2.3
RESPONSE MONITORING
Response monitoring is the repeated and systematic measurement of environmental parameters to test
specific hypotheses about project effects on the environment (LGL Ltd. et al. 1984). The objective of
response monitoring is to establish empirical links between project development and operation
and any impacts on fish and fish habitat. The outcomes of response monitoring are three-fold: first,
to determine if project impacts match with predictions stated in the EIA under the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) (S.C. 1992, c. 37) and the Fisheries Act Authorization; second,
to monitor and manage project effects to ensure that there is no net loss in the productive capacity of
fish habitat; and third, to facilitate corporate learning for similar future projects. This type of monitoring
therefore plays a critical role in identifying impacts and allowing adaptive management of projects to
address these effects.
The criteria for an effective response monitoring program using the BACI approach include the
following key elements: a) measurable objectives, b) replication, c) pre-impact information, and d)
control sites (Pearson et al. 2005). The first three of these elements are also critical when employing a
BA monitoring design. Response monitoring programs typically collect data on environmental
indicators, which reflect environmental values that are to be protected (Suter 1990). These valued
environmental components (VECs) are selected based on legal, political, economic, and ecological
relevance, as well as sensitivity to human activity.
These protocols outline the methods required for measuring responses to parameters most likely to be
affected by hydroelectric projects. These include physical parameters, such as water quality, water
temperature, fish habitat, and stream morphology; as well as biotic parameters relating to the
invertebrate, fish and wildlife communities present. Details on the metrics to be studied are provided in
the relevant sections below and include: description of the fish species and life-history stages present,
the timing of significant migrations, measures of fish abundance, density and biomass, as well as
condition factor and size-at-age relationships. Similar metrics describing the abundance, diversity and
community structure of invertebrate and wildlife populations are also required. This portion of the
monitoring program therefore addresses the complexity of physical and biological responses to
changes in flow and habitat.
As outlined in Section 1.4, the BACI approach is proposed as the standard monitoring design to be
employed on most projects, with the BA and RCA approaches available as alternatives in cases where
the BACI design is not appropriate. Regardless of the approach adopted, effective response monitoring
requires sound experimental design, including a sufficient number of monitoring sites and replicates.
For decades, power analysis has been recommended to predict the sample size needed to detect
biologically significant effects (Peterman 1990); however, a recent literature review on fish responses to
regulated flow found that only 2% of studies used power analyses either a priori or post hoc.
Biologically relevant phenomena will go undetected by statistical tests when sample sizes are too small
(Murchie et al. 2008), thus a minimum level of effort is essential in monitoring studies. Sample sizes are
suggested in the following sections based on the adoption of the BACI approach and a power analysis
assuming the following: coefficient of variation in samples = 50%, alpha = 0.05, power = 0.8, effect size
= 50% (Hatfield et al. 2007). The number of sites, sampling frequency per year, and years of sampling
prescribed below represent the minimum acceptable level of effort. Dauwalter et al. (2009) report an
average coefficient of variation of 49% in trout populations, yet the coefficient at individual streams
varied from 15% to 108%, demonstrating that more intensive sampling will be required at some streams
(Pearson et al. 2005). The BC government‟s web-based power analysis tool can assist in designing and
developing an appropriate sample size: (http://www.stat.sfu.ca/~cschwarz/Consulting/Babakaiff/).
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
In practice, proponents will prefer to follow the minimum prescribed here to avoid the cost of more
extensive and higher power sampling programs. As such, the data collected through these monitoring
programs will not optimize power; however, the sampling methods described below are consistent with
current scientific research programs. However, despite the guidance provided here, individual
practitioners will invariably execute the studies in different years and with subtle differences in methods,
likely increasing variance in results. This will reduce the power of any future effort to garner insights
through a meta-analysis across individual monitoring studies. Given this, the sample design suggested
here is not intended to substitute for ongoing research on the aquatic impacts of changes in stream
flows, nor will this design provide guidance on the extent and intensity of biological sampling required to
confidently predict future impacts. However, the monitoring of individual streams will detect large
impacts and increase learning by providing information across the landscape, capturing more natural
variation than an intensive research study on a small number of streams could. We suggest that
monitoring across all individual projects by proponents, combined with more intensive research projects
on a smaller number of streams by research groups (industry bodies, government, and academia), is
the best approach.
Typically, the response monitoring proposed here must be conducted with two years of baseline data
and five years of post-construction monitoring to satisfy minimum statistical power requirements
(Hatfield et al. 2007). However, more long-term monitoring is required for instream flow (life of project),
as well as fish community parameters and compensation habitat (minimum of 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years
post-construction). Other variations from this initial monitoring schedule are detailed in the relevant
sections below. Further long-term monitoring of other parameters may also be required following a
review of the results obtained during the first five years of operation. In the majority of cases, the
Fisheries Act Authorization issued by DFO as part of the permitting process for a hydroelectric project
will require renewal following five years of operation. The ongoing monitoring requirements should be
assessed at this juncture.
To ensure monitoring is effective, sampling protocols should be standardized so that data quality and
collection procedures are consistent across years. For instance, in the case of small hydroelectric
projects, annual studies should be conducted at the same time of year and under a similar flow stage. It
is also recommended that the sampling design target a specific stream discharge within a particular
calendar period, rather than aiming solely for a particular calendar date each year.
Sampling consistent environmental conditions every year is challenging, requiring ready-to-go sampling
plans, stand-by staff, and requisitioned equipment that increase the cost of monitoring. However,
because environmental variation is large, it is important that sampling be timed to match the most
appropriate conditions every year. Along the same lines, the timing of sampling must also consider the
fish species and life-history stages present. For example, if Chinook salmon is a key species of interest
and fry migrate out of the system in July, then monitoring in August will not effectively assess project
impacts on this species. If some years do not afford the required environmental conditions within the
specified seasonal sampling window, the program should be deferred to the following year, and the
duration of the program extended by one year.
Some parameters, such as flow levels and water temperature, require ongoing, continuous monitoring
through baseline, construction and operation. For those parameters that are not monitored on a
continuous basis, such as water quality and fish and invertebrate populations, which are monitored
once or on multiple occasions in a calendar year, the long-term monitoring program should commence
three months after project commissioning and the commencement of supplying power to the provincial
grid.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
3
MONITORING PARAMETERS
3.1
STREAMS
Table 1 lists the parameters to be included in the monitoring program for a new or upgraded (as defined
in Section 1.1) hydroelectric project sited within a stream channel (i.e. lacking a lake intake or
reservoir), along with a brief indication of the baseline data required and the duration and frequency of
monitoring expected. Parameters listed in Table 1 are primary parameters that must be monitored for
all projects. Monitoring of additional, secondary parameters will be required for some projects,
depending on effect predictions made in the EIA.
3.1.1
Water Quantity
3.1.1.1 Instream Flow
Background
The flow of water in a stream is a master environmental variable that defines and forms fish habitat and
influences productive capacity. Low water flows can impact fish survival and reproductive success by
increasing temperatures, lowering oxygen concentrations, and hindering spawning and migration
behaviour. In general, flow modification and alteration influence the productive capacity of aquatic
habitat. Hydrometric monitoring of stream discharge will measure compliance with the terms and
conditions set forth in the water licence and Fisheries Act Authorization to protect fish and fish habitat.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 1. Monitoring parameters and their associated baseline data requirements, frequency and duration of monitoring for stream-based
hydroelectric projects.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
The construction and operation of hydroelectric projects will alter several aspects of the hydrograph
including magnitude, duration, frequency, timing, and rate of change (Lewis et al. 2004). The greatest
change in flow will occur within the diversion section, however, short term changes in flow downstream
of the powerhouse may also lead to adverse effects on fish and fish habitat.
In addition to assessing the direct impacts that a hydroelectric project will have on fish and fish habitat
because of the altered flow regime, it will be necessary to consider external sources of variability. For
instance, climate change may alter hydrographs, thereby affecting the operation of a hydroelectric
plant, and potentially exacerbating environmental effects. This will be particularly important in snowmelt
dominated hydrographs, where climate change is predicted to result in decreases in snow
accumulation, an earlier freshet, and lower summer and early autumn flow volumes (MWLAP 2002,
Pike et al. 2010 and references therein). Effects will also be apparent in rain-dominated systems where
a predicted increase in the frequency and magnitude of storm events will result in increasingly frequent
and larger storm-driven stream flow in the winter, and a possible increase in the number and magnitude
of low flow days in the summer (Loukas et al. 2002, Pike et al. 2010).
Baseline Data Requirements
On-site baseline flow levels should be determined by establishing a gauging station according to
guidelines for hydrometric data collection (RISC 2009). Although the guidelines for impact assessment
(Hatfield et al. 2007) require a minimum of one year of data, flow data are critical to the interpretation of
changes in the other monitoring components (e.g. fish and invertebrate densities) and thus ideally a
minimum of two years of baseline on-site hydrometric data should be available (Water Permitting
Information Requirements, MoE 2009). Given the typical development timeline for hydroelectric
facilities, three or more years of on-site hydrometric data are generally available prior to construction.
The need for on-site hydrometric data is particularly important for run-of-river hydroelectric projects,
which are typically located on steep streams that were found to be under-represented in the Water
Survey of Canada (WSC) network in gap analyses conducted in the late-1990s (Klohn Crippen 1998,
Chapman Geoscience 1999). The under-representation of these streams in the network was attributed
to three principal factors: a) the challenge in collecting reliable discharge data in steep, typically cobbleboulder dominated, streams using the standard WSC discharge measurement protocol; b) the difficulty
in maintaining instream gauges in streams transporting high levels of sediment and debris; and c)
typically unreliable, or seasonally-limited, road access.
Methods of flow monitoring are available in the Land and Water BC Hydrometric Guidelines (LWBC
2005) and the Manual of British Columbia Hydrometric Standards (RISC 2009). They are also
summarized in Hatfield et al. (2007). Briefly, a rating curve should be developed with a minimum of ten
discharge measurements, well distributed over the range of flows experienced in a typical year (e.g.
10% to 200% mean annual discharge (MAD)), with photographs taken of the site at high and low flows.
A fully documented methodology for the generation of the rating curve and flow estimates should be
described. Discharge measurements may be taken by direct mechanical measurement (e.g. Price AA
flow meter), dilution methods (salt or dye), or with an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP).
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Monitoring Requirements
Accurate, real-time instantaneous flow data will be monitored through the life of the project to ensure
compliance with the water licence, and to provide measures of environmental conditions that will assist
in the interpretation of changes in biological components of the monitoring program. RISC (2009)
recommends collection of a stage reading every 15 minutes, but this is a minimum requirement and site
specific flow regimes often necessitate a shorter recording frequency. For the purposes of verifying
compliance with flow ramping requirements in fish-bearing waters, a stage sampling frequency of 15
seconds is recommended with a 2-minute average for storage in the data logger (and submission to the
agencies). To ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the water licence, this stage
sampling frequency will be adopted. Flow measurements will be provided for two locations: 1) in the
diversion section, downstream of the intake but upstream of any significant sources of local inflow; and
2) in the downstream section, downstream of the powerhouse, but upstream of any significant sources
of local inflow. Significant local inflow is defined as 10% of the flow being measured. Local conditions
will vary and professional experience will be required when selecting appropriate gauging points.
Once a project is constructed, project structures may allow the accurate measurement of stream flow
without ongoing discharge measurements in the channel. There are several methods to accurately
measure instream flow once a structure is in place, such as a flow velocity transducer within a
dedicated instream flow release (IFR) pipe, or a v-notch or gated orifice at the diversion weir with a
water level transducer. Machine settings and real time transducer readings can, when calibrated in
combination, provide highly accurate measures of both the flow diverted and the flow released
downstream of the intake. However, for the first two years following construction, discharge should be
monitored in the channel to confirm the accuracy of measurements based on project structures. At both
the diversion and downstream hydrometric gauges, a staff gauge will be established to allow
independent verification of flow conditions at any time. Staff gauges also benefit recreational users by
allowing them to determine if stream flows are suitable for water-based activities.
The collection of stream channel discharges and updating of rating curves post-project (or
establishment if gauge locations change) should follow the Land and Water BC Hydrometric Guidelines
(LWBC 2005), as per the baseline discharge monitoring described above. Gauges should be
recalibrated following major stream flow events that may alter the coefficients of the rating curve. Data
recorded at gauging stations should be downloaded from the logger no less than once per month, to
ensure that any equipment malfunctions (e.g. battery loss, equipment damage) do not result in lengthy
data gaps.
Instantaneous, continuous monitoring of instream flow will be required for the life of the project, whether
measured manually in the stream channel or with project structures. Instantaneous water level and flow
data should be available upon request and annual reports on instream flow will be required throughout
the life of the project. In addition to this general monitoring requirement, any non-compliance with the
water licence should be reported to DFO and MoE within 24 hours, and measures taken to ameliorate
the risk of downstream impacts. Non-compliance reports describing the conditions of non-compliance,
the contributing factors, and measures taken to minimize immediate and future impacts should be
submitted to DFO and MoE within a week of the incident.
A summary of this monitoring program can be found in Table 7.
3.1.1.2 Ramping Rates
Background
A potential environmental effect of hydroelectric projects is the stranding of fish by operational changes
in stream flow. Rapid changes to stream flow can dewater habitat and strand fish, which can lead to
mortality through desiccation, freezing, or increased predation. Fish stranding by hydroelectric
operations, defined as the separation of fish from their primary water body (river or reservoir) and
23
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
leading to injury or mortality, has been known for decades and studied extensively in the past 10 years
in Canada and Norway (e.g. Cushman 1985, Hvidsten 1985, Bradford 1997, Hunter 1992, Saltveit et al.
2001, Halleraker et al. 2003, Irvine et al. 2008). Stranding can occur by entrapment in a side channel or
pool (trapping or isolation), entrapment between substrate clasts (interstitial stranding,), or by beaching
on substrate (Cathcart 2005). Unauthorized fish mortality violates Section 32 of the Fisheries Act and
must be avoided.
Potential stranding effects are mitigated by controlling the rate of operational flow change, a procedure
known as flow ramping. Flow ramping is defined here as a gradual or progressive alteration of
discharge in a stream channel resulting from the operation of a hydroelectric facility. Ramping rate is
defined as the rate of change in discharge measured as a flow per unit time (i.e., m3/s/s or cfs/s)
(Cathcart 2005). Regulatory agencies have identified generic ramping rates to protect fish from flow
ramping. The generic ramping rates adopted by DFO are based on stage change rather than volume
change: 2.5 cm/hr when fry are present and 5.0 cm/hr at all other times, although no ramping may be
allowed under some conditions (Hunter 1992, Higgins 1994, Cathcart 2005), and a single rate may not
provide protection in all streams (Irvine et al. 2008). The development and testing of these rates is
underway at many projects in the Province.
The effects of flow ramping and the factors influencing fish stranding are complex (Irvine et al. 2008).
Stranding risk is extremely variable among different streams and within a given stream, and even the
generic rates could pose a threat to fish and habitat under certain conditions. The potential operational
effects of ramping differ among projects, reflecting stream-specific channel morphology, diversion flow
magnitude, and the fish species and life stages present. Ramping risk may vary with flow and season,
demanding that individual proponents investigate the response of stream habitat and fish in a specific
stream to flow ramping.
Ramping issues are particularly acute for hydropower installations that produce electricity using
hydropeaking, or pulse power generation, which generate electricity during times of peak demand
(Scruton et al. 2008). Several hydrological characteristics of downstream flow may also be altered by
hydropeaking, including magnitude, duration, timing, rate of change (ramping rate) and frequency of
changes in flow (Magilligan and Nislow 2005, Arthington et al. 2006). As a result, hydropeaking can
substantially alter the quantity and quality of habitat available to fish on a daily basis (Moog 1993,
Valentin et al. 1996). Habitat quality may be impaired by the continuous wetting and dewatering of the
substrate, which can reduce the overall productive capacity of the fluvial habitat (Morrison and
Smokorowski, 2000). Adverse effects may be direct (e.g. stranding, mortality or habitat abandonment)
or indirect (e.g. downstream displacement, volitional movement, depleted food production, increased
physiological stress) (Moog 1993, Valentin et al. 1996, Bradford 1997, Scruton et al. 2003, Scruton et
al. 2005).
Even if the flow changes are not drastic enough to kill fish, they can interrupt feeding, migration, and
spawning behaviours, causing fish to migrate from preferred habitats, thus effectively reducing the
value of these habitats. These effects, though transient, may recur often enough to harmfully alter fish
habitat, violating Section 35 of the Fisheries Act. Some have categorized these effects as sub-lethal
behavioural responses (Saltveit et al. 2001, Floodmark et al. 2002). Early studies of hydropeaking
focused on severe impacts such as stranding (e.g., Bradford 1997, Valentin et al. 1996), while more
recent research is moving towards sub-lethal impacts to non-stranded fish, including behavioural and
physiological responses (e.g. Halleraker et al. 2003, Floodmark et al. 2002, Murchie and Smokorowski,
2004, Berland et al. 2004). In regards to fish growth, one study noted that no measurable impacts on
growth were identified as a result of short-term experimental exposures to fluctuating water levels
(Floodmark et al. 2006). Whether severe or sub-lethal impacts (or both) will result from hydropeaking
operations on a given stream will vary depending on several key factors.
24
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
The magnitude of the effects of hydropeaking generally depends on the capacity of fish to respond to
temporary, often severe habitat alterations, and their ability to find and exploit hydraulic refugia
(Valentin et al. 1996). Overall, the key factors that determine the potential effects of hydropeaking on
fish include (i.) the rate of flow change and duration, (ii.) time of day (light), (iii.) season and/or
temperature, (iv.) behaviour of fish, (v.) fish species and life stage (size), and (vi.) the morphology and
substrate character of the stream (Steele and Smokorowski 2000, Halleraker et al. 2003). The first of
these factors, the rate of operational flow change and duration, is the primary mechanism that is
controlled to limit the impacts of hydropeaking and other causes of rapid flow change (e.g. turbine startup and shutdown due to planned or unplanned outages, etc.).
In light of the potential impacts of flow changes on fish and fish habitat, regulatory agencies have been
working with industry to develop a set of protocols to evaluate, manage, and mitigate these impacts.
Among these are ramping rates that have been developed based on previous research (Hunter 1992,
Cathcart 2005). Nevertheless, the monitoring of fish stranding due to flow changes and the
development of protocols for the assessment and mitigation of ramping effects is an area of active
investigation in BC, and thus the protocols proposed here can be expected to evolve over time as more
local experience is gained.
Ramping rates are restrictions on the rate and time of diversion, storage, or use of water from a stream
to protect instream flow requirements for fish and/or fish habitat. At present, generic standard ramping
rates followed by DFO are 2.5 cm/h when fry are present and 5.0 cm/h at all other times, although no
ramping may be allowed under some conditions (Hunter 1992, Higgins 1994, Cathcart 2005). These
generic rates are risk-averse and although they may not avoid all stranding, particularly that from
isolation and subsequent dewatering over a prolonged period, they are within the range of natural
hourly ramping rates seen at low flows in the Pacific northwest (see Hunter 1992) and have proven
effective at some hydroelectric projects. Downramping rates of 2.5 cm/h when fry are present and 5.0
cm/h at all other times should therefore be applied unless monitoring studies demonstrate that less
stringent rates minimize the risk of fish stranding to a level that is acceptable to the regulatory agencies.
Fishless diversion sections can tolerate stage change rates higher than those established for fishbearing sections; however, there is little guidance on what these rates should be. Natural stage change
rates provide conservative guidance of stage change rates for fishless streams.
Cathcart (2005) identifies 10 key items that can influence the ramping rate required to avoid stranding,
hence different projects may ultimately be able to implement more rapid ramping rates. However,
unless otherwise demonstrated by a ramping study, the generic rates will be followed and fish-bearing
diversion and downstream sections will generally require ramping tests. Fishless diversion sections will
not require ramping tests. There may be some streams where channel confinement and slope preclude
the establishment of study sites. Such streams are also unlikely to have sites with high rates of fish
stranding, hence, if study sites cannot be established because of these concerns, it is likely that the
study is not required. Nevertheless, such circumstances are expected to be rare.
Monitoring Requirements
The monitoring of ramping rates applies continuously throughout the life of the project, as both planned
and unplanned outages may occur at any time. For instance, ramping may be induced when an
unplanned outage causes the turbine to shutdown in situations where there is insufficient flow for a
hydroelectric plant to generate electricity and maintain the minimum instream flow requirement in the
diversion reach. Similarly, an unexpected equipment malfunction of electromechanical equipment (e.g.
loss of transmission services due to tree fall or ice build-up) or component of the water conveyance
system may induce ramping as an immediate plant shutdown is required to protect the system from
further damage and to perform emergency repairs and maintenance. Thus, ramping rates will be
monitored and evaluated continuously because of the potential impacts that inappropriate rates may
have on fish and fish habitat in the diversion reach and downstream of the project.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Project commissioning is the ideal time to conduct ramping tests because water control structures are
in place, allowing a controlled experiment to be conducted, and it is imperative that ramping rates that
are protective of fish are in place prior to operation. Generic ramping rates are typically stringent,
reflecting the stage change criteria used on streams that support juvenile life stages of anadromous
fish. If evaluated in a field test, ramping rates may be modified to optimize project operations while still
meeting fish protection requirements. It is important to monitor the effects of ramping rates on individual
project streams in the field because of among-stream variation in physical conditions, fish species type,
and fish behaviour.
Cathcart (2005) identifies a 9-step protocol for deriving ramping rates for run-of-river hydroelectric
developments in British Columbia, which can be initiated during the EIA to identify appropriate ramping
rates. The ramping tests and monitoring protocol proposed here is the elaboration of Step 8: Test
Ramping and Standard Verification, described in Cathcart (2005) as: “If necessary, test ramps should
be conducted to determine flow and stage changes at critical sites, after facility construction at the
discretion of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Test ramps would be the basis for verifying the validity of
the interim ramping rate recommendations, and eventually the final operational ramping rates upon final
approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.”
The test ramps allow the monitoring of ramping rate effectiveness. The tests follow several of the steps
in the ramping protocol prepared for DFO (Cathcart 2005), which are repeated here and elaborated on
to provide additional guidance.
1. Identify aquatic species at risk by stream section
During the EIA the fish species and life-history stages present will have been identified. This
information should be brought forward into the ramping tests to guide selection of the target species/life
stage, and the timing and stream section of interest for the tests. Fishless diversion sections will not
require ramping tests; however, fish-bearing diversion and downstream sections will require tests. The
tests should focus on the most sensitive species and life stages present in a stream section. Additional
tests may be required at different times of year to determine if less stringent ramping rates are
permissible at other times of year.
2. Identify sensitive stranding sites
Sensitive sites are those with the highest potential rates of fish stranding. By designing ramping rates to
protect these sites, less sensitive sites are also afforded protection. Sensitive sites are found in a
variety of locations, particularly where the river cross-section has a relatively flat slope, typically at a
gravel bar or sand bar. Side channels or pools are also sensitive sites as they are preferred by juvenile
fish for rearing. Micro-stranding sites are found on cobble bars, where roughness creates refuges that
juvenile fish prefer, but may be reluctant to leave during a ramp down, resulting in stranding.
Potential sensitive sites both within the diversion and downstream sections should be identified prior to
the ramping tests. Sensitive sites may extend far downstream from the project. The study boundary
should be located far enough downstream to ensure that no sites further downstream suffer a higher
degree of stranding during ramping events.
At least five sensitive sites should be identified within each of the downstream and diversion stream
sections. Each site should consist of a minimum of 10 m of streambank, and extend out into the stream
to the limit of dewatering observed. In order to be able to determine whether the ramping rates being
tested are protective, the species and life-stage of interest must be present within the sensitive sites
immediately prior to and during the ramping tests.
3. Define the stage discharge relationship at sensitive sites
Ramping tests take place following project construction, when flows can be controlled at the
powerhouse. As the timing and magnitude of flow released from the powerhouse will be known, and
26
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
discharge will be known in the diversion and downstream sections from the continuous recording
gauges installed there, the response of flow to operational changes can be monitored. During such
tests, a stage sampling frequency of 15 seconds is recommended, with a 2 minute average for storage
in the data logger (and submission to the agencies). In addition, stage must be continuously monitored
at the sensitive sites during the ramping tests. The flow data inferred from the stream gauges and the
stage data collected at the sensitive sites are combined to provide a stage discharge relationship at the
sensitive sites. Where more than 10% local inflow enters between the stream gauges and the sensitive
sites, an additional stream gauge should be established closer to the sensitive sites.
Once the sites are selected, temporary stage gauges must be installed. These can be manual gauge
plates or continuous stage recorders. Manual gauge plates (60 cm length) can be fixed to the bank,
large boulders, rootwads or large woody debris (LWD), or hammered in the stream bed. This will allow
field staff to instantaneously monitor water level during the tests and record water levels. It may be
more efficient to install a transducer and logger at every sensitive site to facilitate data collection and
subsequent analysis.
4. Measure habitat change
Fish habitat data should be monitored at all sites prior to, during, and following the test. Habitat data
recorded will include wetted edge location relative to a reference point, dominant cover types,
mesohabitat type, substrate composition, a general description, and GPS coordinates. Temporary
cross-sectional pins should be set in the ground to provide a horizontal control for the wetted edge
measurement. At least two photopoint monitoring stations will be established at each site, and photos
will be collected (and repeated) at each of the cross-sections measured. Drawings of each site showing
the location of photopoint monitoring stations and recording gauges will also be prepared.
The sites should be monitored from the beginning to the end of each commissioning test to document
the extent of dewatering. At each site, the change in the location of the wetted edge is multiplied by the
site length to derive the area dewatered. In the case of small streams or isolated pools, the location of
each wetted edge can be recorded.
5. Quantify fish stranding
The presence of the species and life-stage of interest within the sensitive sites must be confirmed
immediately prior to the ramping tests, otherwise the tests will be inconclusive. Where wetted areas
become dry post-ramp, loose substrate where fish could hide will be excavated and overturned to
confirm fish presence/absence. Extensive and diligent searching is required to ensure that small fish
hidden in the interstices of the substrate are found. Fish found will be captured, enumerated by species
and age class, and their status regarding stranding recorded (either as stranded or isolated in a pool).
The condition of the fish will be recorded and comments on stranding mortality should be provided.
The number of fish captured per metre of shoreline can be expanded by total length of similar shoreline
in the stream section to estimate the total number of fish stranded.
6. Ramping protocol definition and documentation
Following project commissioning and the ramping tests, the results of the study should be evaluated to
identify stage change rates that minimize the risk of fish stranding to a level that regulatory agencies
are willing to authorize. The methods, results of searches for stranded fish, as well as stage and flow
data should be presented in detail to facilitate a critical review of the outcome of each test.
Once confirmed, ramping rates will be described in an operating protocol that details steps to avoid
non-compliance and lists mitigation measures that are in place to avoid harmful impacts to fish should
violation of the ramping rates occur (e.g. fish salvage protocol). A report on the ramping tests and a
copy of the operating protocol must be submitted to DFO and MoE. Thereafter, compliance with the
prescribed ramping rates should be monitored during operation, not just during start up and shut down
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
procedures. Non-compliance with the ramping rates must be reported to DFO and MoE. Reports
describing the conditions of non-compliance, the contributing factors, and measures taken to minimize
the chances of recurrence should then be submitted to DFO and MoE within a week of the incident. In
addition to non-compliance reports, details on ramping events throughout the year should be reported
in the annual reports on instream flow, which should be provided throughout the life of the project.
Summary details on this monitoring program can be found in Table 8.
3.1.2
Mitigation and Compensation Measures
All hydroelectric projects require mitigation and/or compensation measures to offset project impacts on
fish habitat, with the measures detailed in the project EIA. The mitigation and compensation measures
adopted are project-specific; however, a few common mitigation measures and compensation habitats
are described. The frequency of monitoring and effort required depends on the measures adopted, and
are therefore discussed in more detail below.
3.1.2.1 Construction Monitoring
To protect fish and fish habitat, various best management practices are employed during construction
in and around streams. These are outlined in a document published by the BC Ministry of Water, Land
and Air Protection (MWLAP 2004), and include: reduced risk timing windows; work area isolation; fish
salvage; deleterious substance and spill management; concrete materials use; sediment, runoff and
erosion control; vegetation management; and site restoration. Adoption of these best management
practices are required to ensure compliance with the provincial Water Act Regulation‟s Protection of
Habitat (Section 42(1)) and Protection of Water Quality (Section 41), as well as the Fisheries Act. The
above list is not comprehensive, and all construction monitoring requirements should be compiled into
an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and submitted to the regulatory agencies for approval prior
to construction (see Figure 1).
Along with best management practices, monitoring activities are implemented to ensure compliance
with the protocols and assess whether the mitigation measures are effective in protecting fish and fish
habitat. Construction activities must be monitored full-time at the start of construction and during any
instream works or sensitive activity, and on a daily basis during other construction activity (MWLAP
2004). The environmental monitor must be an appropriately qualified professional and will have the
authority to modify or halt any activity if it is deemed necessary to protect fish and wildlife populations or
their habitats. Within 60 days of the project‟s completion, a monitoring report must be completed by the
environmental monitor and submitted to MoE and DFO. Monitoring requirements are summarized in
Table 9.
Further details on the implementation of the best management practices, along with the requirements
for the monitoring report are provided in MWLAP (2004).
3.1.2.2 Fish Screens and Fishways
For many projects on fish-bearing streams, mitigation measures may include a fish/debris screen, such
as a Coanda screen, engineered to prevent the entrainment of fish, and a fishway allowing fish to move
upstream and downstream of the intake. The condition of the screen and fishway will be inspected on
an annual basis prior to, and during, critical times such as the downstream migration of juvenile fish, or
the upstream migration of spawning adults. Any factors that may impair, delay or block fish migration
identified during these inspections will be reported to DFO and addressed as soon as possible to
minimize disruption to fish migration. Key issues are the impingement of juveniles on the screen, which
depends on the effectiveness of the screen and the volume of water diverted (Hatfield et al. 2003), and
efficiency of upstream migration by adults through the fishway, which depends on flow conditions and
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
the physical condition of the fishway. The condition of the screen and fishway will be documented with
photographs during monitoring, and the design flow confirmed with on site flow measurements.
In addition to monitoring the physical condition of the screen and fishway, the effectiveness of fish
passage will be evaluated. To obtain an accurate understanding of movement in the area of the intake,
and thus evaluate the effectiveness of the fishway, monitoring will need to begin prior to construction of
the intake and fishway. Baseline information on the number of fish that migrate past the proposed
intake location and the duration of the migration period will be collected prior to construction. The
methods used to monitor fish passage under baseline and operational conditions will depend on the life
stage and species of concern. If upstream migration is blocked, fish will hold in the fishway and below
the diversion weir and may be visible from shore. However, direct sampling will likely be required to
detect fish presence, given that upstream migration is typically timed with higher flow periods when foot
surveys are less effective at detecting fish. Snorkel surveys, underwater video cameras, a trap box
survey, and mark-recapture coupled with electrofishing surveys may be employed to monitor migration.
The capture of sexually mature fish in spawning coloration below the diversion weir or in the fishway,
concurrent with their absence in upstream sections, is evidence of a migratory impediment. Fish
abundance in stream habitats in the 100 m of channel downstream of the intake and in the 100 m
section upstream of the headpond may by comparison provide a quantitative measure of the fish
holding below the diversion weir. However, a number of factors can influence relative abundance, and
careful interpretation of the results will be required.
The frequency of monitoring required will depend on the length of the migratory period, but at a
minimum, abundance will be determined once before the migratory period and again at the peak of
migration. An annual report that details the status of the fish screens and fishway and any maintenance
performed will be produced in accordance with the Fisheries Act Authorization.
In streams with high fish values and important populations of migrating fish, more intensive techniques
specifically designed to assess fish migration may be required. These techniques include: passive
integrated transponder (PIT) tags (Aarestrup et al. 2003), intragastric radiotelemetry tags (Keefer et al.
2004) and hydroacoustics (Ransom et al. 1998, Steig and Johnston 1996).
Details on the monitoring of fish screens and fishways are summarized in Table 10.
3.1.2.3 Habitat Compensation
Background
Compensation habitat is often required by hydroelectric projects to offset negative impacts that cannot
be avoided or mitigated against. The habitat compensation required and created will vary on a projectspecific basis, and thus the type and frequency of monitoring required will also vary. However, as an
example of the monitoring that will be required, the monitoring described below is based on the
excavation of a new stream channel, or the improvement of access to an abandoned side channel, for
rearing fish and adult spawning. Pearson et al. (2005) examine the design and methodology of
monitoring programs to assess fish habitat compensation projects that should be reviewed for guidance
during the development of the project-specific monitoring program.
Monitoring Requirements
All compensation habitats should be designed by an appropriately experienced environmental
professional and constructed in compliance with the construction monitoring protocols detailed above.
Following completion of the compensation habitat, an „as-built‟ survey will be conducted to determine
whether the quantity of habitat constructed is in compliance with the Authorization. As DFO generally
requires compensation habitat to be constructed prior to the completion of the project infrastructure and
the onset of operational impacts, verification as to whether the compensation habitat is sufficient may
come at a later date. An „as-built‟ survey report should be submitted to DFO for the completed
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
compensation habitat. The report should be submitted electronically and provide UTM coordinates for
all compensation works.
To verify habitat quantity, the following physical measurements of the compensation habitat should be
taken: channel length, bankfull and wetted widths, substrate size, and cover area by type (large woody
debris, cobble substrate, overhanging vegetation and undercut bank). A cross-channel transect will also
be established in each hydraulic unit, with depth, velocity, cover, and substrate being recorded.
Following compliance monitoring, effectiveness monitoring will be conducted on a periodic basis to
determine whether the compensation habitat is providing good quality habitat for the focal species.
To determine the quality of the compensation habitat, the physical dimensions and flow within the
constructed habitat should be scored using the same habitat suitability indices employed in the
instream flow assessment, i.e. wetted width and weighted usable width, calculated using provincial
Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) curves (see Lewis et al. 2004) for a detailed methodology). The physical
characteristics of the compensation habitat will be assessed following construction and then 1, 5 and 10
years post-construction, with the condition of riparian vegetation being included in the monitoring to
ensure establishment of planted material. Additional monitoring after 10 years, and in the intervening
period between 5 and 10 years post-construction, may be required. Ongoing monitoring requirements
will be dependent on the performance of the compensation habitat.
As another aspect of the effectiveness monitoring, juvenile fish abundance will be determined following
the same methodology outlined in Section 3.1.6. Adult fish will also be enumerated and mapped
through a snorkel survey, coinciding with peak spawning of the focal species. Adults will be enumerated
by species, sex, condition and status (live or dead). Adult and juvenile fish abundance will be monitored
after 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years. An annual report describing the results of both habitat and fish abundance
surveys will be produced.
Details on the monitoring of compensation habitat can be found summarized in Table 11.
3.1.3
Footprint Impact Verification
Background
The construction and operation of hydroelectric projects will inevitably impact aquatic and riparian
habitats. The scope of these impacts are typically predicted and outlined in the EIA submitted to MoE
and DFO as part of the project approval process. In order to ensure compliance with the project
certificate and make sure adequate compensation habitat is created, it is necessary to measure the
actual footprint impact post-construction. The information collected also provides insight into the
accuracy of the predictions made within the EIA, and may therefore be used to increase the accuracy of
future predictions.
Baseline Data Requirements
Predicting the aquatic and riparian habitat loss associated with a project involves mapping followed by
ground-truthing in the field. Initially, aquatic and riparian habitat losses are estimated using the General
Arrangements and associated shape files to calculate habitat loss associated with project infrastructure
and right-of-ways (ROW) using ArcGIS, or similar mapping software. For the purposes of calculating
habitat loss, aquatic habitat is defined as any permanent or temporary wetted area that serves as
habitat for one or more life-history phases of an aquatic organism. Riparian habitat loss is calculated
relative to the riparian management zone which is 20, 30 or 50 m wide, depending on fish presence
and stream class and gradient, as defined in the Riparian Management Area Guidebook (FPC BC
1995). Both permanent and temporary habitat losses must be estimated.
To determine the quality of aquatic and riparian habitat to be lost, rather than simply the quantity, field
assessments will be conducted. All aquatic habitats to be lost will be described and mapped following
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
the guidelines in Johnston and Slaney (1996). In addition, a minimum of five riparian sites will be
assessed, with priority given to areas permanently affected by clearing, for instance at the intake and
powerhouse locations, and those associated with fish-bearing reaches. Information will be collected on
the riparian class, seral stage, stand age, plant species composition, relative species abundance,
existing disturbance indicators and proximity to a water course. A list of all parameters to be measured
or estimated during the riparian assessment is provided in Table 2. The data collected should then be
used to assess the functional condition of the riparian zone based on the ecosystem characteristics
(species assemblage, soil moisture and nutrient regimes, acidity/alkalinity, and hydrodynamics, see
MacKenzie and Moran 2004) and the Riparian Vegetation Type (RVT) rating system (Poulin and
Simmons 1999).
Information gathered on the quantity and quality of habitat to be lost will influence the amount and type
of compensation habitat required. The data collected will provide the baseline against which to compare
the actual footprint impact and determine whether mitigation and compensation techniques were
effective in maintaining (or improving) riparian habitat function.
Monitoring Requirements
To verify the actual footprint impact of a hydroelectric project, impacts to both aquatic and riparian
habitat will be measured. This „as-built‟ survey should be conducted immediately following completion
of the project infrastructure, with a survey report being submitted to DFO upon completion. The report
should be submitted electronically and provide UTM coordinates for all project infrastructure. The
physical dimensions of each structure and ROW that impacts the riparian zone or aquatic habitat
should be measured in the field or through high resolution aerial photography. The nature of the impact
will be documented using the same characteristics described in the original footprint impact
assessment including vegetation and aquatic habitat type. For aquatic habitat, the bed material should
be described in the impact zones (e.g. concrete, rip-rap). For riparian habitat, the condition of the
reseeding/replanting will be documented. Accurate dimensions of all impacted areas should be
provided, along with details of any disturbance outside of the legal ROW.
Disturbed riparian areas must be re-vegetated in accordance with the DFO (2006) guidance on riparian
re-vegetation, as well as any local regulations. Species used for re-vegetation must be native to the
area. Monitoring should occur late in the growing season on an annual basis for a period of five years
following the completion of construction. Successful replanting is defined as a survival rate of 90% of
the stock. If more than 10% of the planted stock dies over one year, replanting will be required.
Likewise, additional erosion control may be required to stabilize vegetation on steep, erodible soils and
ensure successful long-term vegetation. Replanting of lost vegetation and all additional remediation
should occur within a maximum of eight months following disturbance. To ensure the greatest likelihood
of survival, replacement grasses, shrubs and trees should be planted during the spring and/or fall
depending on the local climatic conditions. Monitoring results and details of any upgrades required and
performed should be documented in an annual report.
Details on this monitoring program are summarized in Table 12.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 2. Riparian assessment parameters and methodology.
32
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 2. Riparian assessment parameters and methodology (continued).
3.1.4
Water Temperature
Background
Water temperature effects are one of the primary environmental issues for hydroelectric projects
(Annear et al. 2002). Small changes in water temperature have the ability to cause significant impacts
to fish. Water temperature tolerance levels vary between species and between life-history stages.
McCullough (1999) reports that warm temperatures can reduce fecundity, decrease egg survival, delay
growth of fry and smolts, reduce rearing density, and increase exposure to disease. Meanwhile,
freezing temperatures and the build up of ice during winter can result in entombment, decreased egg to
fry survival (Curry et al. 1995), increased predation risk (Valdimarsson and Metcalfe 1998), and a
decrease in habitat availability (Craig 1989). Eggs are the most temperature-sensitive salmonid life
stage (Hicks 2000); however, adults are also sensitive to temperature effects. The National Marine
Fisheries Service (1996) characterized properly functioning temperature conditions for adult Pacific
salmon as between 10.0 and 13.9°C, with those inhabiting water between 13.9 and 15.5°C considered
“at risk”. The water temperature guidelines for the protection of freshwater aquatic life as specified in
Oliver and Fidler (2001) state that mean weekly maximum water temperatures should not exceed ±1°C
beyond the optimum temperature range for each life history phase of the most sensitive salmonid
species present, and that the rate of temperature change in natural water bodies is not to exceed
1°C/hr.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
The reduction of water flows associated with a run-of-river hydroelectric project can, depending on the
season, either increase or decrease stream temperature. Periods of extreme water temperature in
summer and winter often coincide with periods of low flow, when water diversion projects may not be
operating. However, there may be periods of heightened sensitivity to diversion-related temperature
change, when a relatively large change in flow may coincide with an extreme temperature change.
Ice conditions in regulated rivers are often highly variable due to artificially induced variation in flow and
temperature (Huusko et al. 2007). Such conditions may preclude the formation of stable surface ice and
perpetuate an unstable, dynamic environment associated with frazil and anchor ice (Ashton 1986) that
is typically regarded as having negative implications for overwintering fish (Huusko et al. 2007). The
formation of frazil and anchor ice may affect microhabitat use by salmonids as a result of ice avoidance
(Brown and Mackay 1995, Brown 1999, Jakober et al. 1998, Simpkins et al. 2000), by altering water
velocities and depth in pools (Komadina-Douthwright et al. 1997, Brown et al. 2000) and through the
creation of anchor ice dams (Stickler et al. 2008). Several studies have found that fish are forced to
move more frequently when influenced by frazil or anchor ice (Brown 1999, Jakober et al. 1998), which
may have negative effects on energy reserves and subsequently survival (Brown et al. 2011). However,
salmonids do not avoid frazil and anchor ice under all conditions, with Stickler et al. (2007) observing a
lack of avoidance behaviour in streams dominated by coarse substrates.
Research suggests that predicting the formation and dynamics of frazil and anchor ice, and their effects
on the behaviour, microhabitat selection and survival of fish, may be highly context-specific and
dependent on the habitat characteristics and ice regimes of individual rivers (see reviews by Huusko et
al. 2007 and Brown et al. 2011). Furthermore, while ice regimes are often regarded as having negative
impacts on fish populations, particularly in regulated rivers (Saltveit et al. 2001, Dare et al. 2002,
Scruton et al. 2005), there are no studies that quantify overwinter survival in these impacted rivers
(Saltveit et al. 2001) or that convincingly show that ice limits survival (Huusko et al. 2007). This is likely
due, in part, to the difficulties associated with sampling in winter, but also because of the complexity of
physical and biological factors that affect fish survival.
Nevertheless, if the EIA for a project noted that operation may increase the likelihood of frazil and
anchor ice build up, additional habitat and fish biological monitoring is likely to be required to ensure
that no adverse effects on overwinter survival arise.
Baseline Data Requirements
As part of the EIA, temperature models should be developed that predict the effects of the new flow
regime on temperature. Due to the established interaction between air and stream temperature, with air
temperature being the greatest contributing factor to increases in water temperature (Bartholow 1989,
Poole and Berman 2000), temperature models must examine the relationship between air temperature,
water temperature and flow. Such models may also be used to model the future impacts of global
climate change on effects of the hydroelectric project. The predicted rise in air temperature associated
with global climate change has already been shown to increase stream temperatures in British
Columbia (MWLAP 2002), and such changes will affect different life-history stages and species
differently depending on location and current conditions (Nelitz et al. 2007).
Water temperature should be monitored by installing continuous temperature monitors in the study
stream at three locations: upstream of the intake and headpond (control), in the diversion (impact), and
downstream of the powerhouse. If the downstream monitoring site is expected to have nearly identical
temperatures to the site in the lower diversion section prior to project commencement, water
temperature loggers may only be needed upstream of the proposed headpond, and at the lower end of
the proposed diversion. The temperature loggers should be installed and set to collect water
temperature every hour or less. Two temperature loggers should be mounted at each site on separate
anchors to reduce the risk of data loss or corruption. Water temperature data should be downloaded a
34
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
minimum of twice per year, or more often if practical. A minimum of two years of continuous water
temperature data should be collected prior to project construction.
Air temperature and other meteorological data may be required for modelling the effects of change in
water flow on water temperature. The data requirements will depend on the site and model used for
prediction.
Monitoring Requirements
Monitoring water temperature throughout the year will allow detection of any changes compared to
baseline levels. Any significant changes can then be factored in to operational protocols and support
the analysis of other monitoring components, such as invertebrate and fish abundance. Water
temperature data should be reviewed annually to determine project effects on stream temperature and
assess whether such effects may be biologically significant and affecting the growth, survival or
reproductive success of the fish population. Temperature data collected during operations should be
incorporated into the temperature models developed for the EIA to improve the effect predictions for
temperature and flow extremes.
Temperature monitoring supports the interpretation of key monitoring parameters, such as changes in
fish abundance and growth which are sensitive to temperature both before and after project operation.
Seasonal variation in temperature presents different concerns, whose importance varies between
streams, depending on hydrology and climate. During summer, high temperatures may be exacerbated
by water withdrawal to critical thresholds that may affect fish survival: monitoring will quantify the
magnitude of project operation effect on stream temperatures and allow for an evaluation of whether
such changes are likely to adversely affect the fish population. Conversely, low temperatures during
winter may be exacerbated by flow withdrawal, leading to increased frazil and anchor ice formation that
have the potential to affect over-winter survival and fish growth.
The level of monitoring required will depend on the severity of potential impacts and the sensitivity and
value of the fish species and life stages present. Requirements for additional monitoring of icing issues
should be identified in the EIA, but may include: an overview survey to measure ice build up in the
diversion section, noting the location, extent and characteristics of the ice; the installation of additional
temperature and discharge loggers in locations utilized by fish and sensitive to ice formation; fatty acid
composition tests to monitor fish condition; and the implantation of PIT tags to monitor fish movement
and overwinter survival.
An annual report should be prepared describing observed water temperatures, assessing any potential
impacts. Any potential harmful effects to the productive capacity of fish habitat resulting either from
extreme low temperatures and ice buildup in winter, or high temperatures in summer, will require the
development of appropriate mitigative measures through consultation with the regulatory agencies.
Details on the monitoring program for water temperature are summarized in Table 13.
3.1.5
Stream Channel Morphology
Background
As a result of modifying stream flow, hydroelectric projects have the potential to impact channel
stability, channel geomorphology, and sediment transport and deposition. These impacts may occur
both upstream and downstream of the intake, within the headpond and diversion channel, respectively,
as well as below the powerhouse. Modifications to stream channel morphology may directly or indirectly
alter physical habitats used by fish (Lewis et al. 2004), and may therefore lead to HADDs. For this
reason, stream channel morphology must be monitored before project implementation and again during
operations.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Baseline Data Requirements
Guidelines for the required level of geomorphology assessment are provided in Lewis et al. (2004). The
geomorphic assessment of channel morphology should begin at a regional scale to describe the
physical characteristics of the watershed, physical channel condition, influences of water and land use
on channel processes, and the potential impacts of the proposed water use on present and future
conditions. The primary concern from a biological perspective is how the physical form and function of
the river channel is affected by project operation and what effect any changes in the flow and sediment
regimes will have on fish habitat.
On a finer scale, the assessment will consider project effects on stream morphology in the diversion
section, downstream of the powerhouse, and upstream of the intake where the creation of a headpond
has the potential to affect sediment storage and transport and thus affect sediment transfer to
downstream reaches. Within each of these locations, a number of transects should be established to
define the baseline representative profile against which to monitor morphological change. It is important
that all transects are located in alluvial/semi-alluvial sections. Transects downstream of the powerhouse
should be upstream of any significant tributaries that may influence the morphology or bed composition
of the channel. A minimum of five transects should be established in the diversion channel, while a
minimum of two transects should be located in each of the upstream and downstream sections. The
exact location and number of transects will be determined by a licensed professional with experience in
river geomorphology. Sediment size analysis associated with the monitoring should follow the standard
Wentworth Scale (Bunte and Abt 2001).
Once transects have been established, the following procedures will be carried out:
A substrate survey near the transects in all three sections to characterize the substrates forming
riffles and boulder steps.
Photo survey points established near the transects in all three sections, and on significant riffles,
boulder steps and bar forms.
A thalweg profile in the diversion section of sufficient length and sampling detail to characterize
important morphological attributes relevant to fish habitat (following Roper et al. 2002).
Aerial photogrammetry over the diversion section and upstream of the intake at low flow
conditions (~ 30% MAD or less) to document pre-development conditions. Georeferenced, lowlevel digital photogrammetry is suitable as long as the scale and resolution of the imaging is
adequate (estimated to be 1:1,000). RISC (1996) provides appropriate techniques and
methodology for this work.
Monitoring Requirements
A stream morphology assessment should be conducted following the first large flood event that occurs
after project commissioning (i.e. the first 1 in 10-year event, or greater, as determined by hydrology
recordings at the intake), or alternatively, five years after construction, whichever comes first. More
frequent surveys may be required if project construction and operation have the potential to alter the
sediment regime to an extent that may affect the productive capacity of fish habitat, as determined in
the EIA. The same measurements will be taken as during the baseline survey to monitor change, with
the addition of sediment sampling in the headpond to determine the volume and type of sediment
accumulated, and a detailed topographical survey to determine the extent of the area inundated and
the effects to the floodplain. A report detailing the changes observed, any immediate concerns from a
fish habitat perspective identified, and a re-assessment of the long-term impacts likely to result from
project implementation should then be produced.
Details on this monitoring program can be found summarized in Table 14.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
3.1.6
Fish Community
Background
Fish community monitoring is only relevant to hydroelectric projects developed on fish-bearing streams.
In such cases, the construction and operation of a hydroelectric project has the potential to directly or
indirectly impact various metrics of fish community health, including abundance, density, condition,
biomass, size-at-age, distribution, timing of migration and survival. Initial monitoring efforts will establish
all species and life-history stages that use the proposed diversion reach and/or may be affected by
downstream influences of the project. On streams with diverse species assemblages and high
ecological values, it may be appropriate to monitor the entire fish community. On streams with relatively
simple fish assemblages, it may be appropriate for extensive sampling to concentrate on a target
species. Nevertheless, abundance data should be collected for all species given the potential for
unanticipated impacts to arise, and the need to identify changes in the fish community.
It is important that the rationale for selecting a target species is carefully considered. Although
anadromous fish have significant cultural, recreational, and economic importance, they may not be the
most appropriate for characterizing project impacts. In general, monitoring anadromous fish species
adds increased variability to the data through additional external factors stemming from their life-history,
such as ocean survival, fishing pressure, etc. This high variability may greatly influence the monitoring
results and significantly reduce the power of the analyses. In contrast, the results obtained from
monitoring the density and biomass of a resident fish population, such as rainbow trout, are more likely
to demonstrate changes, if any, within the stream. The combined effects of any changes to water flow,
quality and temperature on fish growth and survival will likely also manifest themselves greater in a fish
species that is present throughout its life cycle, than one present for only a portion of its life. However,
depending on geographical location and river morphology, the situation may not be so straightforward.
Rainbow trout confined to freshwater systems have shown migratory behaviour between mainstem
rivers, tributary streams and lakes (Northcote 1997 and references therein), and thus their residency
within the proposed diversion reach cannot be assumed. Moreover, the success of an anadromous
stock within a particular river, while also influenced by external factors, may be critically linked to habitat
within the proposed diversion reach. If anadromous fish migrate into the diversion reach for a portion of
their life cycle, changes in flow may completely eliminate their use of the diversion reach through
altered cues, impaired passage, or changes to the habitat that diminishes its functionality.
Circumstances may therefore dictate that all species of importance are monitored.
Permits will be required for sampling or collection of fish in all waters. Fish Collection Permits from the
Ministry of Environment and Habitat Monitoring and Assessment Licenses from DFO should be in place
prior to fish sampling. Fish data collected under these permits must be submitted to the Province,
following the Fish Data Submission process (www.env.gov.bc.ca/fish_data_sub/index.html).
Baseline Data Requirements
Metrics of fish community health must be studied in two stream sections: an impact section and a
control section, both of which should be of similar quality habitat. Lewis et al. (2004) provide detailed
methods for defining the study area and study sections. The impact section should be located within the
diversion, as this is the area where the greatest impacts are expected. The control section would ideally
be located upstream of the proposed intake and headpond; however, this may not be possible for
biological (e.g. different fish species present), or morphological (upstream section consists of two small,
steep tributaries whereas the diversion section is a single larger channel) reasons. In these cases, a
different unregulated stream nearby with similar physical characteristics and fish species may provide
an appropriate control. Alternatively, as discussed in Section 1.4, approaches other than the BACI
design such as a BA or RCA may be considered.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Upstream controls must be carefully selected because they can be adversely affected by project
development, in instances where migration is impaired by the intake, or where the upstream section is
backwatered far upstream of the intake. The validity of an upstream control site may be compromised if
fish migration past the intake, either upstream or downstream migration by adults or juveniles, is
significantly impaired. Migration may be key to maintaining the productive capacity of fish habitat on
some streams. Where intakes are built adjacent to natural barriers, upstream migration is not a
concern; however, downstream reaches may benefit from recruitment from isolated upstream reaches.
Within each section, high quality fish habitats should be selected for sampling. A minimum of five
sample sites should be established in each of the control and impact sections (Lewis et al. 2004).
These sites should be sampled using methods appropriate for local conditions and the species of
interest. In the majority of cases, multiple-pass electrofishing with depletion (multi-pass) is the preferred
method for numeric assessment (Seber and LeCren 1967, De Leeuw 1981, Murphy and Willis 1996).
However, electrofishing may result in mortality or injury (e.g., McMichael et al. 1998, Holliman et al.
2010), and may not be permitted for all species and under all environmental conditions. In such
instances, appropriate alternatives that adequately characterize and monitor the health of the fish
population must be found (see below for a discussion of alternatives).
The key factors that affect electrofishing effectiveness are conductivity, temperature, visibility, and
habitat (depth and flow). Electrofishing is only considered effective where conductivity is greater than
30 μS/cm and water temperature is greater than 4° C (MoF 1998a, Lewis et al. 2004). Where
conductivity is low, salt blocks can be added upstream of the sampling site to increase conductivity to
an acceptable level. A provincial condition under the fish collection permit process in BC states that “no
electrofishing is to take place in waters below 5°C” (Appendix A, No. 11). During cold periods many
species of salmonids become largely nocturnal and hide in the substrate during the day. Therefore, in
cold water conditions (i.e. <5°C), electrofishing activities may be scheduled at night so that fish are
captured and not shocked while buried in the substrate. Lewis et al. (2004) also place conditions on
water visibility (>25 cm) and habitat. A sufficient level of visibility is necessary if fish are to be captured,
however, even where visibility is low, electrofishing can still be used as a method to detect species
presence. High water depths and high flows also set physical limitations on electrofishing (i.e. to crews
and equipment).
Another issue for electrofishing is the possibility that fish will be injured. Several studies have reported
substantial numbers of pulsed direct current (i.e. electrofishing) caused spinal injuries and associated
haemorrhages in rainbow trout and other species (Holmes 1990, Meyer and Miller 1990, Wyoming
Game and Fish Department 1990, Fredenberg 1992, Newman 1992, Roach 1996, Taube 1992,
McMichael 1993, Zeigenfuss 1995, Dalbey et al. 1996, Grisak 1996, Thompson et al. 1997, Snyder
2003). Other harmful effects such as bleeding at gills or vent and excessive physiological stress have
also been documented (Snyder 2003). Therefore, particularly in cases where species of concern are
located within the sampling area, electrofishing may pose too high of a risk to be used (i.e. risk of
injuring or killing the species). Significantly fewer spinal injuries have been reported when direct current,
low-frequency pulsed direct current (≤30 Hz), or specially designed pulse trains were used (Snyder
2003).
Fish eggs may also be potentially injured by electrofishing. Consequently, another provincial condition
under the fish collection permit process (Appendix A, No. 12) states that “electrofishing may not be
conducted in the vicinity of spawning gravels, redds, or spawning fish, or around gravels which are
capable of supporting eggs or developing embryos of any species of salmonid at a time of year when
such eggs or embryos may be present”. A more in-depth review of electrofishing and its effectiveness
can be found in most fisheries techniques books and manuals (e.g. Murphy and Willis 1996, Bonar et
al. 2009).
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
When electrofishing is adopted, multiple-pass electrofishing should follow the methods outlined in
Hatfield et al. (2007). Fine mesh stop nets capable of barring the passage of all fish present should be
used to encompass individual sample areas of at least 100 m2. At each sampling site, habitat data must
be recorded, including depth, velocity and substrate present within the enclosure, to assist in
quantifying usability (see Hatfield et al. 2007). The length of the electrofishing site must also be
recorded along with at least three measurements of site width. These site measurements allow for the
calculation of fish density and biomass, which can be compared across sites and between years.
Abundance estimates from electrofishing with depletion are frequently biased (Peterson et al. 2004)
and may not be possible in streams where water clarity and temperature or turbulence prohibit effective
sampling. Glacial streams may be too turbid for effective electrofishing during the growing season,
clearing sufficiently for electrofishing only when temperatures drop below the permitted range for this
method. Furthermore, electrofishing with depletion may miss larger juveniles (Korman et al. 2010) and
can lead to biased estimates of juvenile fish abundance, even when both backpack and boat
electrofishing are used to sample the wider variety of habitats presented in these larger streams
(Korman et al. 2009). Mark-recapture experiments provide more precise capture probabilities, avoiding
the bias inherent in depletion methods. Snorkeling can be a superior method of detecting larger juvenile
salmonids (Korman et al. 2010); however, hiding behavior during daylight negatively biases counts,
particularly under lower temperatures. Nighttime snorkeling can overcome these biases (Thurow and
Schill 1996, Thurow et al. 2006, Hagen et al. 2010). A combination of snorkeling, which is more
effective at detecting larger fish, and electrofishing, which is more effective at detecting smaller fish,
can offset the size biases of each method alone, leading to superior estimates of population abundance
(Korman et al. 2010).
The appropriate method for a particular project, or combination of methods for fish sampling, will
require consideration of the capture probability of the species/life stages of interest, as well as the
physical conditions of the site, including temperature, conductivity, turbidity, and channel type. A biased
abundance estimate such as electrofishing with depletion may provide a reliable metric to compare
abundance between study sites and over time. However, the methods chosen should consider
conditions both prior to and during project operation, which will alter flow and other factors that can
influence capture probability. Flow reductions may increase capture probability, in turn overestimating
the relative abundance in diversion reaches and biasing monitoring results.
A combination of methods will be employed to overcome the limitations of a single method, with
sampling extending into other seasons to ensure that the entire fish community is adequately
characterized and the manner in which the available habitat is used in different seasons is understood.
Snorkeling, minnow trapping, or another sampling method (e.g., angling, beach seining, fyke nets, drift
nets) should be employed as a secondary sampling method to overcome any limitations of the primary
sampling method. A second sampling method may sample different species or life-history stages, and
extend sampling into other seasons to ensure that the entire fish community is adequately
characterized and the manner in which the available habitat is used in different seasons is understood.
Even in streams with relatively simple fish assemblages, migration into and out of the proposed
diversion reach may occur to take advantage of good quality foraging, refuge or spawning habitat. It is
thus important to gather as much information as possible on how the available habitat is used prior to
project development so that impacts can be better predicted, monitored and mitigated. The amount of
fishing effort expended (e.g. electrofishing seconds, trap soak time) will be recorded to calculate catchper-unit-effort (CPUE), which provides an indication of the relative abundance of fish at different sites.
Regardless of the sample method used, in all cases it is beneficial to collect specimens so that length,
weight condition and fat content can be measured, as these attributes may be more sensitive to
environmental changes and display less variability. Biological attributes may provide high power
resolution of effects if individually marked fish are sampled over several years. The species, length and
39
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
weight of all fish captured should be recorded, along with any observations of abnormalities. A Field
Key to the Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia exists to aid in the identification of species (RISC
1994). Voucher specimens should be collected for species that cannot be confidently identified in the
field (RISC 1997a). Aging structures should also be collected to provide an indication of age classes
and growth. These physical data will be used to evaluate baseline fish condition and size-at-age
relationships. All data collected will meet or exceed the existing inventory standards (RISC 2001), with
details of sampling (e.g. electrofisher settings) and site conditions (turbidity, temperature, conductivity)
recorded because differences between years may aid in the interpretation of results.
A minimum of two years of baseline fish community data should be collected before construction of the
project. However, more extensive sampling will likely be required in streams that support anadromous
species, highly valued sport fish, or a complex fish assemblage. In such instances, it may be necessary
to monitor for one complete life-cycle of the anadromous species present, and/or sufficient time to gain
a thorough understanding of how the habitat is used, both spatially and temporally. The timing of
sampling will vary between streams, depending on the fish species present and the hydrological and
temperature regime. For example, on Vancouver Island, sampling for salmonids will likely take place
during September or October, coinciding with the period of low flow during the growing season.
However, in interior streams dominated by snow and glacial melt, the most critical period may be
overwinter and fish may be most easily sampled in early spring, although electrofishing may not be
effective or permissible at that time.
In addition to the collection of baseline data on fish populations, fish habitat will also be assessed
during the EIA as it is critically important in determining the carrying capacity of a stream. Microhabitat
data are collected as part of the instream flow assessment (see Lewis et al. 2004), but habitat
information on the mesohabitat and macrohabitat scales should also be collected following the Fish
Habitat Assessment Procedure (FHAP) (Johnston and Slaney 1996). Further details on the baseline
requirements for fish habitat can be found in Hatfield et al. (2007). Aside from the continuous
monitoring of flow over the life of the project (Section 3.1.1.1) and the occasional monitoring of stream
channel morphology (Section 3.1.5), ongoing monitoring of physical fish habitat will likely not be
necessary during operations. However, if changes in fish populations are observed, specific habitat
features may need to be monitored to determine whether changes have occurred as a result of project
operations, and whether these changes are likely to have played a role in the observed changes to the
fish population. For example, if there is a decline in fry recruitment, this may be a result of reduced
intra-gravel velocities induced by flow reduction. In this instance, monitoring studies may be required to
quantify the effects of flow change on spawning habitat and egg-fry survival.
Monitoring Requirements
The same sites should be sampled during each monitoring period to allow paired comparisons in
statistical tests, thereby increasing statistical power. The sampling sites should therefore be
georeferenced, photographed, and marked in the field to ensure that the same location is used
repeatedly across years. The timing of sampling should also be consistent across years. Fish
abundance will in general be monitored 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years post-construction, with a report
produced on an annual basis. All metrics described above should be measured and evaluated for
differences between baseline and post-construction conditions. When evaluating monitoring results in
relation to the baseline it is important to consider multiple life stages of the target species, any other
species present, and the effects of environmental variables, such as temperature (Murchie et al. 2008).
Quantitative multivariate analyses should be performed wherever possible, with power analyses
conducted to evaluate the ability of the tests performed to detect biologically significant changes. The
power of the statistical tests should be reported along with the significance of the test results.
Impacts from backwatering or flooding of the stream channel upstream of the headpond may also affect
fish. These impacts should be monitored by sampling fish density post-construction and comparing
40
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
observed densities to those sampled in the upstream section before construction. Electrofishing may
not be the most appropriate method of fish enumeration given the greater depth of headponds.
Accordingly, snorkelling, seining, or other methods may need to be considered. The appropriate
methodology will be selected once the project is operational and the headpond can be examined to
determine the habitat characteristics, which will determine the efficacy of potential sampling methods.
Evaluating the density of fish in the headpond area pre- and post-construction will consider the changes
in habitat, and how these are likely to impact the species and life stages present.
Details on the monitoring of fish community can be found summarized in Table 15.
Additional Fish Response Monitoring
The baseline and long-term monitoring described above should be considered the minimum amount
required for the development of a hydroelectric project on a fish-bearing stream. While it may not be
appropriate to assess the impacts on anadromous (or other migratory) species by collecting juvenile
density data, DFO will require baseline and long-term monitoring of anadromous stocks (or other stocks
of management concern) using additional monitoring methods. For example, multiple-pass removal
electrofishing cannot be used to monitor chum and pink salmon due to their very short periods of
freshwater residence. Similarly, the freshwater rearing periods of juvenile Chinook are stock-dependent
and can range from a period of weeks to a year or more (McPhail 2007). In cases of limited freshwater
residence, some measures of adult abundance and fry outmigration are likely to be required. Additional
monitoring may also be required for non-anadromous species or stocks of particular importance or
sensitivity to human development (e.g. bull trout). The most appropriate methods for monitoring in
these situations will vary on a case-by-case basis.
The methods employed to collect baseline information must be of an appropriate type and extensive
enough to adequately characterize the existing fish population and its habitat use, and subsequently
monitor any potential project impacts. The timing of sampling must also be appropriate because of the
prevalence of migration into and out of tributaries from large rivers, lakes and the ocean by different
species and life stages. For example, recent work on bull trout has illustrated the variety of life-history
strategies adopted by the species, including adults that make multiple migrations into and out of the
marine environment (Brenkman and Corbett 2007). The nature of the long-term monitoring required in
these cases will be driven by the identification of potential impacts in the EIA, and should be
determined through consultation with the regulatory agencies. Examples of the type of baseline
characterization and monitoring that may be required are: monitoring fry outmigration using fyke nets or
drift nets (Conlin and Tutty 1979); monitoring juvenile migration using PIT tag technology (e.g.
Aarestrup et al. 2003); monitoring adult migration using radiotelemetry tags and either mobile or fixed
antenna (e.g. Keefer et al. 2004); monitoring adult salmonid migration using fixed-location split-beam
hydroacoustics (Ransom et al. 1998); determining life-history patterns through otolith microchemistry
(e.g. Gillanders 2005, Brenkman and Corbett 2007); and monitoring spawner distribution and density
through angling, snorkel surveys and redd counts. A summary of the various field sampling protocols
for studying salmonids was recently published by the American Fisheries Society (Johnson et al. 2007)
and should be consulted when choosing the appropriate methodology.
Adoption of multiple sampling methodologies allows for a more thorough evaluation of fish responses to
flow regulation on an individual and population level. Integration of the results on multiple fish species
with invertebrate population metrics and environmental data, such as water temperature, also allows for
an evaluation of ecosystem response. To complete the assessment of fish responses to project
development at all four biological levels (cellular, individual, population and ecosystem), physiological
studies may be required to measure responses at the cellular level. A recent literature review revealed
an under-representation of studies that monitored the response to river regulation at the cellular level
(Murchie et al. 2008). The monitoring of sublethal consequences to the prescribed flow regime may
therefore be required on certain projects where individual or population level effects occur, but are not
41
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
readily explained by the data collected for the standard monitoring program. Halser et al. 2009
recommend the monitoring sub-organismal responses (e.g., physiological or energetic consequences)
of individual fish to hydropower infrastructure and operations, particularly to assess fish responses to
fluctuating flows and fishways. Approaches that show promise for studying fish sub-organismal
response include behavioural, energetic, genomic, molecular, forensic, isotopic, and physiological tools.
A number of well-developed physiological techniques now exist that can be applied in the field (see
Wikelski and Cooke 2006), which may be required to monitor specific issues at particular projects.
In addition to the monitoring of fish populations, changes to fish habitat may be of critical importance.
For instance, the dewatering of spawning gravels both within the diversion section and the downstream
section is of particular importance given that hydroelectric projects are often located on upstream
reaches where fish migrate to spawn. Although the spawning habitats in these reaches may be limited
in area, they can be critical to local populations of fish, supporting adult spawners and the recruitment
of juveniles to extensive downstream reaches. The FHAP is to be used during the EIA to quantify the
spawning gravels in the diversion section, providing a baseline estimate of habitat (see Lewis et al.
2004). Although geomorphologic studies monitor changes in sediment, providing some postconstruction assessment of substrate, alterations in incubation habitat quality may be subtle and not
visible as a change in substrate. For example, reduced intra-gravel velocities induced by flow reduction
may in turn reduce egg-fry survival. In some cases, therefore, post-construction monitoring studies may
be required to quantify the effects of flow change on spawning habitat and egg-fry survival. An example
of the study design and methodology to monitor egg incubation and egg-fry survival is provided in
Baxter and McPhail (1999). Growth rates during the fry stage have also been shown to vary with
changes in flow caused by hydropeaking (Korman and Campana 2009). Studies of fry otolith
microstructure may therefore be required if impacts on juvenile growth and condition are revealed
during monitoring studies.
3.1.7
Water Quality
Background
Water use can affect water quality indirectly by altering the volume of water remaining in a channel, or
directly by returning water of altered quality to the river channel (Hatfield et al. 2007). Reduction of flow
can modify levels of dissolved oxygen, pH, low-level macro-nutrient parameters (N, P), total suspended
solids, total dissolved gas pressure (TGP), total alkalinity and electrical conductivity. Water quality
parameters will be maintained within strict parameter levels to ensure the protection of fish and fish
habitat. Water quality alteration is expected during the construction phase of hydroelectric projects,
when small, short-term increases in suspended sediments may occur despite the use of best
management practices. Longer term changes in suspended sediment concentrations may also occur
due to altered dilution ratios, resulting from reduced flows in the diversion section and inputs from other
tributaries. Water quality issues may also arise where reservoirs are planned or headponds will
inundate vegetation. Concerns in these instances include mercury methylation and subsequent
bioaccumulation (Lewis et al. 2004).
The objective of monitoring water quality is to identify biologically significant changes to specific water
quality parameters stemming from project development and operation. Long-term monitoring of water
quality may not be required for all projects, with the decision as to whether to monitor or not dependent
on the water quality data collected during baseline monitoring, and the potential impacts identified in the
EIA. Water quality is a secondary monitoring parameter (Table 1), which should be monitored if the EIA
predicted project-related changes in water quality that may affect the productive capacity of fish habitat.
42
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Baseline Data Requirements
The same three locations used for monitoring water temperature should be used to monitor water
quality: upstream of the intake and headpond (control), in the diversion, and downstream of the
powerhouse (Lewis et al. 2004). As was the case for water temperature monitoring, water quality need
only be assessed upstream of the proposed headpond and at the lower end of the proposed diversion
prior to construction, unless water quality is expected to be different downstream of the proposed
powerhouse, for instance by the presence of an incoming tributary. To establish baseline conditions,
water quality samples should be collected on a quarterly basis for two years prior to project
construction.
Some water quality parameters (e.g. dissolved oxygen and TGP) can be measured in situ using
appropriate equipment and methodology (RISC 2006). For other parameters, water quality samples
should be collected and handled following approved protocols outlined in the Ambient Freshwater and
Effluent Sampling Manual (RISC 1997a), and sent to an accredited environmental laboratory for
analysis. Unless a specific quality assurance/quality control (Qa/Qc) protocol is agreed upon, samples
should be taken in triplicate to reduce the risk of erroneous data resulting from travel or field
contamination. Further details on the design of a water quality monitoring program are outlined in the
Guidelines for Designing and Implementing a Water Quality Monitoring Program in British Columbia
(RISC 1998a). Table 3 lists the water quality parameters that will be sampled during the baseline
characterization.
Table 3. List of water quality parameters to be sampled on stream-based hydroelectric projects.
Monitoring Requirements
Water quality monitoring will be required if the EIA identified parameters that may be affected by the
project to a degree that the productive capacity of fish habitat may be adversely affected. The protocol,
frequency and timing adopted for long term monitoring will depend on the parameter being monitored
and the duration, frequency and timing of potential effects identified in the EIA. For instance, critical
periods exist for measuring some parameters and these vary among streams. The parameters, timing
and frequency of sampling must therefore be identified by a qualified professional (Lewis et al. 2004).
For some projects, water quality samples may only be required biannually, coinciding with low flow
events at the beginning and end of the growing season (most likely April and October). Other projects
may require quarterly or more frequent sampling of some parameters.
If long-term monitoring of water quality is required, samples will be collected in years 1 through 5 postconstruction, to coincide with the frequency of other monitoring components, unless there is a
defensible rationale to vary from this schedule. The RISC manual Guidelines for Interpreting Water
Quality Data (RISC 1998b) provides direction for screening, editing, compiling, presenting, analyzing,
and interpreting water quality data.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Details on this monitoring program can be found summarized in Table 16.
3.1.8
Invertebrate Drift
Background
Macroinvertebrates and their habitats are included in instream flow assessments because salmonid
growth and abundance have been shown to be correlated to the abundance of drifting invertebrate prey
(e.g. Huryn 1996). Maintenance of food sources for fish is therefore the primary motivation for
macroinvertebrate monitoring. However, the density, biomass and community composition of
invertebrate drift are indicators of stream productivity, and therefore also serve as an indicator of
general system health. Numerous studies have shown changes in invertebrate density, distribution and
taxonomic composition in response to flow regulation, although the magnitude of biological response
varies among locations and with characteristics of the regulated flow regime (Harvey et al. 2006, Wills
et al. 2006, Dewson et al. 2007).
Monitoring invertebrate drift is a secondary monitoring parameter (Table 1) and may not be required for
all projects. The decision to monitor or not depends on results from baseline monitoring of invertebrates
and fish, and the potential project impacts identified in the EIA. For example, long-term monitoring of
invertebrates is likely required if the EIA determined that project effects may adversely affect the
invertebrate population to the extent that the productive capacity of fish habitat may be reduced. Also,
invertebrates monitoring may be required for non-fish-bearing streams as the primary biotic indicator of
project effects on the stream ecosystem, and to ensure that the food supply to downstream fish-bearing
reaches is maintained. The inclusion of invertebrates in the long-term monitoring program should be
based on professional judgement and discussion with the regulatory agencies.
Baseline Data Requirements
As per Hatfield et al. (2007), baseline data on invertebrate drift density, biomass and community
composition should be collected in a minimum of three locations, one within the diversion section
(impact), one upstream of the intake and headpond (control), and one downstream of the tailrace.
Further sampling sites may be required depending on the length of the proposed diversion, with the
goal of adequate representation of the affected stream reach. The downstream section may also be
critically important for the assessment of impacts to fish habitat, particularly if the diversion and
upstream sections are fishless. It is important that sampling sites are located in representative habitat in
the downstream half of a riffle section. To the extent possible, drift samples will be taken in areas with
water velocities of 20 to 40 cm/s. All sites will be georeferenced so that the same sites can be used for
future monitoring.
Two years of baseline data on invertebrate drift should be collected. It is recommended that sampling
occur twice during the main growing season (usually May through October): once at base flow
conditions, and once during low to moderate flows, with at least one month between the two sampling
dates to avoid autocorrelation and pseudo-replication. Sampling windows will be narrow on streams
dominated by snow and glacial melt, and where high flows persist until cold weather conditions.
Invertebrate drift should be characterized using vertically fixed drift nets that are suspended and fixed in
the water column using rebar (or another method of securing them without affecting flow) for a set
period of time. Five replicate samples should be collected simultaneously at each site on each sampling
day. It is recommended that the mesh size of the samplers be 250 μm to capture invertebrates most
typically consumed by fish. Drift should be sampled in the daytime to reflect prey abundances available
to fish. However, sampling in mid-day in low productivity streams should be avoided. Sampling should
begin as close to dawn as possible (but at least one hour after dawn, as per Hatfield et al. 2007) with
nets deployed for a sufficient period to gather an adequate drift sample and minimize variance (typically
four to six hours, but may be shorter depending on drift conditions). For further details on the
44
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
methodology to be used for the collection of invertebrate drift refer to Appendix A in Hatfield et al.
(2007).
All invertebrate drift samples should be preserved for analysis in the lab following RISC methods
(1997b), where they should be filtered, sorted into size classes, identified to family or genus,
enumerated and weighed. Enumeration may rely on subsamples depending on the abundance of
invertebrates in each sample. Taxonomic identification to family level should be performed on all
samples, with identification to the level of genus, where possible, being done for at least one of the five
samples. Density (# of individuals) and biomass (mg dry weight) data will be expressed as units per m3
of water, where volume is the amount of water filtered through the net during the set. Community
composition will be examined by calculating family richness (# of families present), family dominance
(top five ranked families in terms of % contribution to total biomass), family diversity (Simpson‟s
diversity index scores), and community structure (Bray-Curtis Index). The Bray-Curtis similarity index is
a commonly used measure of multi-taxa invertebrate communities when quantifying the relative
resemblance of samples (e.g. diversion reach vs. control, pre- and post-development). These metrics
will therefore allow a comparison to be made between seasons and sites prior to construction, and
provide the required baseline information against which to monitor change using the BACI or a suitable
alternative approach.
Monitoring Requirements
If long-term monitoring of invertebrate drift is required, sampling should occur in years 1 through 5, with
samples collected from the same sites as those used during baseline surveys. Monitoring should occur
twice in the growing season at similar flows to those sampled prior to construction to facilitate
comparison with baseline data using the BACI or a suitable alternative approach. In addition to
evaluating changes to the metrics described above, the Canadian Ecological Flow Index (CEFI)
enables a multispecies assessment of the effects of flow alteration that is minimally influenced by
confounding factors (e.g., stream type, organic enrichment) (Armanini et al. 2011). The CEFI may
therefore act as a valuable tool in assessing whether flow-related ecosystem impairment is occurring as
a result of project operation. A report describing the results and comparing them to the baseline should
be produced on an annual basis.
Details on this monitoring program can be found summarized in Table 17.
3.1.9
Species at Risk
In addition to the potential impacts on fish and fish habitat, hydroelectric projects have the potential to
impact aquatic species at risk, primarily through habitat loss or degradation. The Species at Risk Act
(SARA) (Government of Canada 2002) provides protection for legally listed species and their critical
habitats, and is administered by the Minister of Environment, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and
Parks Canada. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) provides
advice to government on the status of wildlife species and was established as a legal entity under
SARA. COSEWIC assesses and classifies the status of wildlife using the best available information on
the biological status of a species, including scientific knowledge, community knowledge, and Aboriginal
traditional knowledge. Once COSEWIC designates an aquatic species as endangered or threatened,
DFO must provide advice to the Minister of Environment on whether the species should be listed for
legal protection under SARA.
It is the responsibility of the proponent to identify any species at risk that inhabit the project area.
Species identification may be through dialogue with regulators, examination of COSEWIC and SARA
species lists, and through field studies. Examples of SARA-listed species that may be impacted by
hydroelectric projects within British Columbia are the speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus) and the
Northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora). Potential impacts to these species or their critical habitat must
45
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
be identified and mitigation measures set forth in the EIA to avoid or lessen adverse effects. Mitigation
measures will be consistent with the applicable recovery strategies and action plans, and monitoring
will occur to determine project effects on the species and/or the critical habitat.
A permit under Section 73 of SARA will be required for any activity that affects a listed wildlife species,
any part of its critical habitat, or its residences. Further information on species at risk and permitting
requirements can be found on the SARA public registry (http://www.registrelepsararegistry.gc.ca/default_e.cfm) and the DFO website (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/speciesespeces/index-eng.htm).
If species of concern are identified for the project area, baseline data and monitoring requirements will
be designed specifically for that species and its habitat requirements, behaviour and vulnerability to
project impacts. Note that very strict specifications for monitoring and data collection are likely to be
required in the design of the monitoring program. The design of the monitoring program should be
based on information contained within the species‟ status report commissioned by COSEWIC, as this
will usually contain the best available information on the biology and habitat requirements of the
species. COSEWIC status reports are available online at:
http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/sar/assessment/status_e.cfm.
3.2
LAKES AND RESERVOIRS
For hydroelectric projects situated at the outlet of a lake, or those intending to flood large areas to
create new reservoirs, monitoring requirements will almost certainly be more extensive than for streambased projects. Minimum baseline data collection will follow the lake inventory requirements as outlined
in the Reconnaissance (1:20,000) Fish and Fish Habitat Inventory (RISC 2001). Due to the potential
impacts of water storage and drawdown, additional information may be required through increased
sampling effort or the use of more techniques than outlined in the RISC process. Such additional
monitoring required on lakes and reservoirs will be developed on a case-by-case basis using the
residual effects predictions of the EIA as a starting point for development of the monitoring program.
Table 4 lists the additional parameters that will be included in the monitoring program for a new or
upgraded (as defined in Section 1.1) hydroelectric project that involves a lake or reservoir. The streambased parameters described in Section 3.1 will still require monitoring in the diversion and downstream
sections. The lake monitoring requirements described below will also be conducted at a suitable control
lake (see Section 1.4) following the BACI design, or the BA monitoring design may be used when no
suitable control exists. As was the case for stream-based projects, the individual components of a
monitoring plan will vary on a project-specific basis. However, primary baseline parameters listed in
Table 4 are those that will be monitored for all projects, while secondary parameters will be required for
some projects, depending on potential residual effects identified in the EIA.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 4. Additional monitoring parameters and their associated baseline data requirements, frequency and duration of monitoring for hydroelectric
projects involving a lake or reservoir.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
3.2.1
Physical Lake Characteristics
Background
For hydroelectric projects located at the outlet of a lake, it will be necessary as part of the EIA process
to provide general information on the characteristics of the lake and predict what impact, if any, the
project will have on the physical aspects of the lake. For instance, installing a dam will increase
sedimentation levels over the long term, while increasing access to the lake may alter land use around
the lake as a whole, thus potentially subjecting the ecosystem to additional stressors unrelated to the
hydroelectric project itself.
The immediate impacts will be far greater if a reservoir is being created by flooding riparian habitat. In
this instance, the area to be impacted will need to be surveyed beforehand to determine the loss of
aquatic and riparian habitat, with additional information collected following project commissioning to
determine the actual footprint impact and describe the physical nature of the new reservoir. The
baseline aquatic, riparian and actual footprint impact assessments will be conducted following the
methodologies described in Section 3.1.3. Table 17 outlines the components of a bathymetry
monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric projects.
Baseline Data Requirements
The baseline data required include information on terrain characteristics, such as lake setting, lake
basin genesis, aspect, hillslope coupling, slope stability, land use and access, as well as shoreline
characteristics, including shoreline type, cover and recreational facilities, if any. Full details of the
requirements can be found in the RISC (2001) standards. A series of photographs illustrating the
physical and biological features of the lake will also be collected.
Lake bathymetry is essential for the evaluation of the potential effects of storage projects. Many lakes
have already been surveyed in British Columbia, with bathymetric maps readily available online from
the Fisheries Inventory Data Queries (FIDQ). If not available from previously conducted work, a
bathymetric survey will be conducted following the methodology in the Bathymetric Standards for Lake
Inventories (RISC 1999) to provide details on mean and maximum depth, volume, and extent and
distribution of littoral areas. In addition to being the baseline against which to monitor long-term
sedimentation following project commissioning, this bathymetric map will be required in planning other
aspects of the baseline studies, such as the location of sampling sites, as well as providing initial
information on the types of fish habitat available.
Monitoring Requirements
Changes to the physical properties of a lake from storage operations are expected to be minimal and
occur over a long period of time. However, there may be increases in sedimentation from shoreline
erosion, altered deposition patterns at tributary mouths, and changes in land use that may affect the
other parameters being measured and will therefore be collected to aid in the interpretation of results. A
bathymetric survey and review of physical parameters is therefore required every five years following
project commissioning, with a report produced describing the results and any changes that have
occurred.
3.2.2
Water Quantity
Baseline monitoring requirements for water quantity at a hydroelectric project involving a lake or
reservoir are the same as those described for a stream-based project. Initially, lake elevation and
discharge at the outflow must be monitored by installing a suitably located gauging station, established
following guidelines set forth in the Manual of British Columbia Hydrometric Standards (RISC 2009).
The guidelines for impact assessment (Hatfield et al. 2007) require a minimum of one year of on-site
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
hydrometric data. However, a minimum of two years of baseline on-site hydrometric should be collected
given that lake elevation and discharge data are critical to the interpretation of changes in the other
monitoring components (Water Permitting Information Requirements, MoE 2009). Given the typical
development timeline for hydroelectric facilities, three or more years of on-site hydrometric data may be
available prior to construction. Project impacts on lake levels and downstream flow, and the
concomitant impacts on water quality, fish habitat and aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, will be described
in the EIA along with the mitigation and compensation measures that will be employed. Monitoring
requirements to ensure compliance with, and the effectiveness of, prescribed lake elevation limits,
instream flow requirements and ramping rates are as described in Section 3.1.1.1 and Section 3.1.1.2.
3.2.3
Limnology and Water Quality
Background
The objective of monitoring water quality is to identify biologically significant changes to specific water
quality parameters stemming from project development and operation, and to ensure that water quality
parameters are maintained within levels that protect fish and fish habitat. Patterns of water storage and
release that vary from natural conditions have the potential to alter water quality in a lake or reservoir.
For instance, inundation of riparian habitat on a short-term or regular basis will introduce additional
nutrients to the waterbody. Furthermore, significant retention or release of water during the summer
months is likely to impact the depth of the thermocline and/or the timing of its formation, while water
levels during winter will impact ice formation and the amount of dissolved oxygen under the ice. As part
of the EIA, numerical temperature models will be developed that predict the effects of the proposed
operation regime on water elevations in the lake, and how these changes will impact temperature and
dissolved oxygen concentrations, particularly at the critical periods in summer and winter. Depending
on the proposed operation regime, the location of the intake pipe, and the location from which spill
water will be obtained (i.e. surface or deep), stream water temperatures may also be impacted in the
diversion and downstream sections. These potential temperature changes will also be modelled for the
EIA.
Water quality alteration may also occur during the construction phase of hydroelectric projects, when
small, short-term increases in suspended sediments may occur both downstream and within a localized
area of the lake, despite the use of best management practices. Table 18 outlines the components of a
limnology and water quality monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric projects.
Given the potential impacts that operation of a hydroelectric facility may have on the productivity of a
lake or reservoir, estimates of phytoplankton biomass should be determined in conjunction with the
monitoring of physicochemical water quality parameters. Phytoplankton are microscopic algae that
occur as unicellular, colonial, or filamentous forms and constitute the base of the food chain in lake and
reservoir ecosystems. They have long been used as indicators of water quality in lentic environments
(Rawson 1956, Palmer 1969, Stoermer and Yang 1969) given their varying sensitivities to nutrient
concentrations, organic, and chemical wastes, as well as their quick response to environmental change
(due to their short life cycles). Their abundance and species composition therefore indicate the water
quality of the waterbody in which they are found (APHA 1999). Nevertheless, their transient nature and
patchy distribution can make data interpretation difficult and the information collected is best used in
conjunction with the physicochemical and other biological data collected.
Phytoplankton biomass is typically estimated by determining the concentration of photosynthetic
pigments, primarily chlorophyll a (APHA 1999 and references therein). Chlorophyll a constitutes
approximately 1 to 2% of the dry weight of planktonic algae, the concentrations of which can be
determined by spectrophotometric, fluorometric, and high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC)
techniques (see APHA 1999 and references therein). Chlorophyll a data are often used as an indicator
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
of the productivity of an aquatic ecosystem in monitoring programs (e.g., the Environmental Effects
Monitoring (EEM) program for metal mines; Environment Canada 2002).
Baseline Data Requirements
Physicochemical Parameters
A georeferenced limnological station should be established at the deepest point in the lake so that
limnology data and water samples are collected through the entire water column and from the same
location each season and year. Depending on the bathymetry of the lake and the location of the
proposed dam, additional sampling stations may be required. For instance, if a lake consists of two
deep basins separated by a shallow shelf that hinders water mixing, samples may be required from
both basins. The following baseline limnology and water quality data should be collected on a quarterly
basis for a minimum of two years.
A Secchi depth should be determined at each sampling location, along with a dissolved
oxygen/temperature profile. Water samples should then be collected at the surface (at 0.5 m depth) if
the lake is <6 m deep, and at the surface (0.5 m depth) and bottom (1 m above the bottom) if the lake is
>6 m deep. For Qa/Qc purposes, samples will be taken in triplicate to reduce the risk of erroneous data
resulting from travel or field contamination. Samples will be sent for analysis at an accredited
environmental laboratory as soon as possible to avoid deterioration. Further details on water quality
sampling procedures are explained in the Ambient Freshwater and Effluent Sampling Manual (RISC
1997a), and the Guidelines for Designing and Implementing a Water Quality Monitoring Program in
British Columbia (RISC 1998a) provide further details on program design. The water quality parameters
that will be examined during baseline data collection, in addition to dissolved oxygen, are listed in Table
5.
Total and dissolved metal concentrations in water should be assessed as part of the baseline data
requirements to examine the potential effects of local geology and land use, and assist in the
determination of potential project impacts during the EIA process. The requirement to include metals
analysis in the long-term monitoring program will be dependent on the baseline results and the findings
of the EIA. Similarly, the need to monitor both alkalinity and total phosphorus can be assessed following
the EIA.
As a result of concerns over mercury methylation and bioaccumulation following flooding of soil and
vegetation, dissolved organic carbon and sulfate (which can affect bioaccumulation, USEPA 2010),
total mercury, dissolved mercury, total methylmercury, and dissolved methylmercury should also be
measured in water quality samples (Table 5). Note that due to the ubiquitous nature of mercury and the
ultra-trace nature of mercury tests, field blanks should be collected and should incorporate all aspects
of sampling operations, including filtration.
Mercury methylation tends to be highest in surface sediments containing freshly deposited organic
material and in warm shallow sediments; it is also a concern following the flooding of dry land due to
mercury methylation in newly flooded organic material (CCME 2003). Accordingly, if flooding of land is
expected, sediment quality sampling should be conducted for both lake sediments and the soil that will
be inundated following dam construction. The behaviour of mercury in sediments and the bioavailability
to aquatic life is dependent on a number of physicochemical parameters (Environment Canada 1997,
CCME 2003, USEPA 2010). The parameters that should be quantified in sampling of lake sediment
and soil to be inundated are provided in Table 6. Further information regarding mercury and
methylmercury in sediments can be found in USEPA (2010), CCME (2003), and CCME (1999).
Following the first summer sampling, continuous water temperature loggers should be installed at
various depths at the limnological station, with the number and depths of loggers determined based on
the water temperature/dissolved oxygen profile. A similar array of loggers should be installed relative to
the thermocline in the reference lake. A minimum of two temperature loggers should be installed and
50
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
anchored at each limnological site to measure surface water and deep water temperatures every hour
or less. Water temperature data should be downloaded a minimum of twice per year, or more often if
practical. To account for temperature differences that occur with depth, water temperature loggers
should either be installed to maintain a constant depth despite elevational changes, or be corrected for
changes in water surface elevation. Despite the continuous recording of water temperature,
temperature/dissolved oxygen profiles are still required on each subsequent quarterly sampling date. A
minimum of two years of continuous water temperature data should be collected prior to project
construction.
In addition to the parameters listed in Table 5, transparency is an additional parameter that will be
monitored to meet other standards, such as the EcoLogo criteria for renewable low-impact electricity
certification.
Table 5. List of physicochemical water quality parameters to be sampled for lake or reservoir hydroelectric
projects.
Table 6. List of physicochemical sediment quality parameters to be sampled for lake or reservoir hydroelectric
projects (lake sediment and soil to be inundated following dam construction).
Biotic Parameters – Phytoplankton
Given the potential impacts that operation of a hydroelectric facility may have on the productivity of a
lake or reservoir, estimates of phytoplankton biomass through measurement of chlorophyll a on a
quarterly basis for two years. More frequent sampling is likely to be required in the growing season to
determine how productivity changes over time and how this may affect the fish population.
Furthermore, given the transient nature and patchy distribution of phytoplankton biomass (Moss 1998,
Scheffer 2004) sampling will be required not only at the limnological station at the deepest point in the
lake, but at a number of other sites. The number of sampling points, location, depth and frequency of
sampling required will depend on the size, morphology and nutrient inputs into the lake or reservoir, but
must be sufficient to gain a good understanding of the abundance and distribution of phytoplankton and
how this influences the productive capacity of fish habitat. Sampling requirements should therefore be
determined on a case-by-case basis
The taxonomic composition of the baseline phytoplankton community will also be determined so that
project effects on community composition can be determined. Samples for both chlorophyll a and
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
taxonomy should be collected in triplicate from each sampling location. Guidance on sampling
methodology can be found in the Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater for
plankton (Method #10200) published by the American Public Health Association (APHA 1999), and
adopted for the EEM program (Environment Canada 2002).
Phytoplankton community composition should be examined by calculating family richness (# of families
present), family dominance (top five ranked families in terms of % contribution to total biomass), family
diversity (Simpson‟s diversity index scores), and community structure (Bray-Curtis Index). These
metrics will allow a comparison to be made between years and sites prior to construction, and provide
the required baseline information against which to monitor change using the BACI, BA, or RCA
approach.
Monitoring Requirements
Water quality and phytoplankton will be monitored in years 1 through 5 after project commissioning,
after which the need for a water quality monitoring program should be re-assessed. In cases where dry
land or vegetation is flooded, sediment quality will also be monitored in years 1 through 5. At a
minimum, long-term monitoring of physicochemical water quality parameters will be conducted in the
summer and winter, and productivity should be monitored at least twice during the main growing
season by determining phytoplankton biomass and community composition. More regular sampling
may be required based on the potential for residual effects on water quality or productivity identified in
the EIA. Similarly, the number and location of sampling sites should be based on professional
judgement and through discussion with the regulatory agencies. Results of water quality monitoring
should be reported on an annual basis.
3.2.4
Fish Habitat
Background
The impacts to fish habitat from water retention and release are likely to be concentrated in the littoral
zone, which provides the majority of fish spawning and rearing habitat within most lakes. The form and
severity of impacts will depend on factors such as the slope and substrate characteristics of the littoral
zone, the type and extent of aquatic and riparian vegetation, and the fish species present and their use
of the littoral zone and/or tributaries. Fluctuating lake or reservoir levels may affect the amount and
quality of spawning and rearing habitat, alter the accessibility of spawning grounds for species that
spawn in tributaries, change the amount and species composition of aquatic and riparian vegetation,
alter the input of nutrients into the lake, impact egg to alevin survival through desiccation or increased
risk of ice scour, and alter bank stability and thus impact sediment input.
The scope of potential impacts to fish habitat will vary depending on littoral zone characteristics. For
example, the same decrease in lake elevation will cause more aquatic habitat to be lost, in terms of
surface area, in littoral areas with shallow slopes than those with steeper slopes. To exacerbate this
greater quantity of habitat loss, littoral zones with shallow slopes are often better quality fish habitat,
with cobble and boulder substrates, compared with steep littoral zones, which are often characterized
by bedrock or silt substrates that are less frequently used by fish.
Table 19 outlines the components of a fish habitat monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric
projects.
Baseline Data Requirements
Results of the bathymetric and limnological surveys will quantify the area of deep water and littoral
habitat, with littoral habitat typically <6 m depth (RISC 2001), although this can vary depending on
water quality and light penetration. A shoreline habitat assessment will also be conducted to determine
the quality and variety of habitats present within the littoral zone. The littoral zone habitat assessment
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
should be conducted using geocoded and orthorectified aerial photographs combined with ground
inspection of the habitat either by boat or walking the shoreline. The littoral zone should be delineated
and mapped into habitat units based on depth, substrate, vegetation and cover. Details to be recorded,
as percent coverage in each habitat unit, include: substrate types present and the degree of
embeddedness by fine sediment; the presence and areal extent of macrophyte communities; and the
presence of large woody debris or overhanging vegetation cover. The resulting shoreline habitat map
should identify spawning and rearing areas for lake-resident species that do not use tributaries to
spawn. These data can also be used to create a Habitat Suitability Matrix (HSM) model (Minns et al.
2001, Frezza and Minns 2002) similar to the HSI models used to determine instream flow requirements.
As some lake-resident species use tributary streams to spawn and rear, it is also necessary to conduct
fish habitat surveys in the inlet and outlet streams. The first reach of all inlets and outlets will be
surveyed according to the 1:20,000 stream inventory standards (RISC 2001). Particular emphasis
should be placed on describing barriers to fish passage and the extent and quality of spawning and
rearing habitat.
Monitoring Requirements
The littoral zone mapping exercise and habitat surveys on inlets and outlets should be repeated two
and five years after project commissioning and the results compared with the baseline. Particular
attention should be focused on key spawning and rearing areas identified during the baseline studies.
For instance, shallow, sheltered bays that often contain fine substrates and aquatic vegetation provide
spawning and rearing habitat for certain species. These areas may be particularly vulnerable to
changes in water level, either through isolation and drying up, or depth increases that result in the loss
of aquatic vegetation. Monitoring results should be reported to DFO on an annual basis with significant
changes highlighted, along with the potential impacts of these changes to the fish populations present.
In addition, any fish habitat compensation projects that affect lake habitat will need to be monitored on
a more regular basis to ensure that the habitat is functioning as designed. Monitoring of habitat
compensation projects is required in years 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 (see Section 3.1.2.3).
3.2.5
Fish Community
Background
The potential effects of a hydroelectric project on fish community health within a lake or reservoir are
expected to result from changes in water quality and temperature, zooplankton and benthic invertebrate
abundance and diversity, and habitat availability and accessibility. As described in Section 3.1.6,
monitoring of the fish community will first establish all species and life-history stages that use the lake
or proposed reservoir, the proposed diversion reach and the downstream reach. In systems with
diverse species assemblages and high ecological values, it may be appropriate to monitor the entire
fish community. In systems with relatively simple fish assemblages, it may be appropriate for extensive
sampling to concentrate on a target species, which may or may not be the same species as the focal
species selected for monitoring below the dam. Nevertheless, abundance data should be collected for
all species given the potential for unanticipated impacts to arise, and the need to identify changes in the
fish community. Fish sampling permits from DFO and the Province must be in place prior to fish
sampling.
Table 20 lists the components of a fish community monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric
projects.
Baseline Data Requirements
Fish species presence, relative abundance, distribution, timing of migration and community
characteristics, such as condition and size-at-age relationships, will be determined using a minimum of
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
two gear types appropriately suited to the range of habitats present. The standard gear types for
sampling lake habitat are gillnets and minnow traps. As described in the Fish Collection Methods and
Standards (RISC 1997a), both six-panel floating and sinking gillnets with mesh size ranging from 25
mm to 89 mm should be deployed perpendicular to the shore in both shallow, littoral habitat and deep
water habitat. The location and depth of gillnet sets should be recorded and monitored in the same
approximate locations on an annual basis. The number of gillnet sets required will vary according to the
size of the lake and complexity of habitat available. Soak times will also vary depending on the density
of fish present. Lakes that are densely populated will require short soak times to minimize mortalities,
while those that are sparsely populated will require longer soak times to adequately determine
population size. The number and soak time of gillnet sets should be based on professional judgement
and experience. In addition to the deployment of gillnets, a minimum of six minnow traps must be set
overnight in shallow water habitat (<1 m deep) to sample juveniles and small-bodied species (RISC
2001).
Sampling using gillnets and minnow traps are considered the minimum requirement to determine fish
presence and abundance. Alternative methods may also be required to determine fish distribution
relative to available habitat, or to capture different species or life-history stages (see Weaver et al.
1993, Fago 1998). Alternative fishing methods include fyke nets (Ruetz et al. 2007), hydroacoustic
surveys (see Stables and Thomas 1992), crayfish traps (large minnow traps set overnight in depths
from 2 to 12 m), setlines, angling, electrofishing and beach seining. Wherever applicable, soak time and
the number of fish captured in each net or trap should be recorded in order to calculate catch-per-uniteffort (CPUE). Sampling effort must be sufficient to adequately describe the fish community present, in
terms of biomass and relative abundance, and its habitat use.
To aid in the determination of population density for the focal species, a mark-recapture program is
recommended. Certain projects where significant lake effects are anticipated, or where sensitive fish
species or life stages exist, may also require additional studies examining fish diet, distribution of
overwintering fish, fry growth in nearshore environments (e.g. Korman and Campana 2009), and
migration into and out of the lake (Gillanders 2005). The amount of baseline data required will depend
on expected project impacts, and is therefore at the discretion of the professionals undertaking the
studies and should be determined in consultation with the regulatory authorities.
All fish captured should be counted and identified to species. A Field Key to the Freshwater Fishes of
British Columbia exists to aid in the identification of species (RISC 1994). Voucher specimens should
be collected for species that cannot be identified confidently in the field (RISC 1997a). For each
species, all individuals up to a maximum of 200 should be measured (fork length), and all individuals
will be counted. Sixty randomly selected individuals (or all if n < 60) should be sampled for weight, sex,
maturity (visually if possible, and only by internal examination if an incidental mortality) and age (take
samples from several representatives of each size group of each species). These physical data will be
used to evaluate baseline fish condition and size-at-age relationships. A colour photograph of at least
one representative fish of each species should be taken.
The federal mercury guidelines for the protection of aquatic life (CCME 2003) state that to attain the
highest degree of environmental protection, all Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines for mercury
(water, sediment, tissue, and soil) should be applied. Accordingly, mercury in fish should also be
quantified if soil and vegetation are expected to be flooded by a lake or reservoir project. Should fish
inhabit the lake and the stream to be affected by the project, both lake and stream populations should
be the focus of study. If there are no fish in the lake but fish are present in the stream affected by the
project, they should be the focus of study. Section 4.2 of USEPA (2010) provides sampling guidance for
studying mercury concentrations in fish, including species, ages, parameters to be sampled (total
mercury, methylmercury, lipid content, length, weight, and age), sample type (i.e., composite samples),
study design, sampling frequency and timing, and sample size.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
A minimum of two years of baseline fish community data should be collected before construction of the
project. However, more extensive sampling will likely be required in systems that support anadromous
species, highly valued sport fish, or a complex fish assemblage. In such instances, it may be necessary
to monitor for one complete life-cycle of the anadromous species present, and/or sufficient time to gain
a thorough understanding of how the habitat is used, both spatially and temporally. Sampling should
initially be conducted in August or September during the growing season, although depending on the
species present, other seasonal sampling periods may be required.
Monitoring Requirements
Fish community health will be monitored 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years post-construction. Net and trap
locations from baseline data collection will be georeferenced to ensure that the same approximate
location is sampled repeatedly in years post-commissioning. This will allow the use of paired
comparisons with greater statistical power. The level of sampling effort and timing of sampling should
also be consistent across years, with sampling occurring late in the growing season during August or
September. To maintain the effectiveness of the mark-recapture study in determining population
density of the focal species, additional marking of individuals may be required as the population ages.
As was the case for stream-based monitoring, requirements for the adoption of additional sampling
techniques and analyses will depend on the baseline results and identification of potential impacts in
the EIA. Details on the monitoring and population assessment requirements may therefore vary on a
case-by-case basis and are to be determined through consultation with the regulatory agencies.
3.2.6
Zooplankton and Benthic Invertebrates
Background
The inclusion of zooplankton and benthic invertebrates in a long-term monitoring program may be
required for two reasons. First and foremost, zooplankton and benthic invertebrates are a key
component of fish diet, and are thus an important component of fish habitat protected under the
Fisheries Act. Secondly, because they occupy a lower trophic level than fish, they are often affected
more rapidly by adverse or positive change and therefore serve as an early warning system and
indicator of general ecosystem health. However, long-term monitoring of zooplankton and benthic
invertebrates may not be required for all projects, with the decision as to whether to monitor or not
dependent on the data obtained on invertebrate and fish populations collected during baseline
monitoring, and the potential impacts identified in the EIA.
Table 21 outlines the components of a zooplankton and benthic invertebrate community monitoring
program for lake-based hydroelectric projects.
Baseline Data Requirements
At a minimum, sampling will occur in conjunction with water and phytoplankton sampling and occur
twice in the main growing season in two separate years. However, more frequent sampling may be
required in the growing season to determine how productivity changes over time and how this may
affect the fish population. As was the case for phytoplankton monitoring, sampling will be required not
only at the limnological station at the deepest point in the lake, but at a number of other sites given the
patchy distribution of zooplankton and benthic invertebrates (Moss 1998, APHA 1999). The number of
sampling points, location, depth and frequency of sampling required will depend on the size and
morphology of the lake or reservoir, and the use of the available habitat by different species and lifestages of fish. Sampling requirements should therefore be determined on a case-by-case basis. The
goal of baseline monitoring is to characterize the zooplankton and benthic invertebrate populations and
facilitate an assessment of whether project construction and operation are likely to affect these
populations as well as the fish population within the lake or downstream. Monitoring should therefore
focus on habitats most likely to be affected by project development and/or those most likely to be used
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
by the different species and life-history stages of fish present. Baseline data will also provide the
information against which to monitor change using the BACI, BA, or RCA approach, if the EIA
determines that residual adverse effects may occur.
Zooplankton should be collected using a conical net with a specific mesh size that must be consistent
between sampling periods. Suitable mesh sizes range from 64 μm to 256 μm, with the mesh size
required for a particular lake depending on the productivity of the lake. The smallest mesh size that
does not result in clogging of the net should be used. Vertical tows are often used to collect a
composite sample of the zooplankton present. Using this methodology, the net is lowered to a particular
depth and pulled up through the water column at a rate of 0.5 m/s. The distance the net travels through
the water should be recorded so that the total volume of water that passes through the net can be
calculated. The net and cod end contents should then be rinsed into a clean sampling jar and the
contents should be fixed with formalin for taxonomic identification and enumeration. Three replicate
samples should be collected at each sampling location on each sampling date. Density and biomass
data should be expressed as units per m3 of water, where volume is the amount of water filtered
through the net during the tow. Further details on various zooplankton sampling techniques are
provided in APHA (1999) and the Freshwater Biological Sampling Manual (RISC 1997c).
Benthic invertebrates should be collected using an Ekman grab sampler and each sample sieved
through a 200-μm mesh. The contents of the sieve should be rinsed to remove as much sediment as
possible and the samples should be fixed in formalin for later taxonomic identification and enumeration
in a laboratory by a qualified professional. Three replicate samples should be collected at each
sampling location on each sampling date. Density and biomass data should be expressed as units per
m2, where area represents the size of the Ekman sampler used. For further details on the methodology
for the collection and analysis of benthic invertebrates, refer to the Freshwater Biological Sampling
Manual (RISC 1997c).
For both zooplankton and benthic invertebrates, community composition should be examined by
calculating family richness (# of families present), family dominance (top five ranked families in terms of
% contribution to total biomass), family diversity (Simpson‟s diversity index scores), and community
structure (Bray-Curtis Index). These metrics will allow a comparison to be made between years and
sites prior to construction, and provide the required baseline information against which to monitor
change using the BACI, BA, or RCA approach.
Monitoring Requirements
The long-term monitoring of zooplankton and benthic invertebrates is likely to be required if the EIA
determined that project effects may adversely affect these populations to the extent that the productive
capacity of fish habitat may be reduced. In these circumstances, sampling will be conducted in years 1
through 5, and should occur a minimum of twice in the main growing season on comparable dates with
baseline data collection to facilitate comparison with baseline data using the BACI, BA, or RCA
approach. The number and location of sampling sites should be based on professional judgement and
discussion with the regulatory agencies. A report describing the results and comparing them to the
baseline should be produced on an annual basis.
3.2.7
Species at Risk
Water storage areas associated with hydroelectric projects have the potential to impact species at risk,
particularly if inundating large areas of terrestrial habitat for the creation of a new reservoir, or
significantly altering water levels in existing lakes. However, as described in Section 3.1.9, no standard
requirements for baseline data collection or monitoring are detailed in this document because the
requirements will vary widely depending on the species of concern. It is the responsibility of the
proponent to identify any species at risk that inhabit the area through dialogue with regulators,
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
examination of COSEWIC and SARA species lists, and through field studies. A permit under Section 73
of SARA will be required for any activity that affects a listed wildlife species, any part of its critical
habitat, or its residences. Potential impacts to these species or their critical habitat will be identified and
mitigation measures set forth in the EIA to avoid or lessen adverse effects. Mitigation measures will be
consistent with the applicable recovery strategies and action plans, and monitoring will occur to
determine project effects on the species and/or the critical habitat.
Once a species of concern has been identified, baseline data and monitoring requirements should be
designed specifically for that species and its habitat requirements, behaviour and vulnerability to project
impacts. Note that there are likely to be very strict requirements for monitoring and collection that will be
incorporated in the design of the monitoring program. Further information on species at risk and
permitting requirements can be found on the SARA public registry (http://www.registrelepsararegistry.gc.ca/default_e.cfm) and the DFO website (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/speciesespeces/index-eng.htm). The design of the monitoring program should be based on information
contained within the species‟ status report commissioned by COSEWIC, as this will usually contain the
best available information on the biology and habitat requirements of the species. COSEWIC status
reports are available online at: http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/sar/assessment/status_e.cfm.
4
REPORTING
All baseline data should be compiled in a report for agency review following completion of project
construction. In each subsequent year, an annual monitoring report must be submitted that documents
the findings of the previous year‟s monitoring and compares these results to the baseline. Some
components such as stream channel morphology are not monitored on an annual basis, in which case
the results of this monitoring should be included in the relevant annual report. Annual monitoring
reports should detail the methods employed, the results of the monitoring, a comparative quantitative
analysis of monitoring results to baseline conditions, and any recommendations for changes to project
operation and/or the monitoring program and schedule.
Proponents that used assumed data to determine sample sizes in their proposed response monitoring
plan must submit a revised response monitoring plan within 60 days of project completion. The revised
plan should include power analyses completed on the actual baseline data to confirm appropriate
sample sizes for response monitoring. If power analysis on the actual data indicates that there is no
statistical justification for adjusting the response monitoring plan, a brief technical note should be
submitted to the agencies within 60 days of project completion.
The effectiveness of any compensation works and the impacts of flow alteration in the diversion section
must be quantified and compared to baseline conditions. In addition to the production of an annual
monitoring report, the proponent must continue to communicate with the Province and DFO to ensure
that the regulatory agencies are satisfied that the monitoring program meets the intent of reducing the
uncertainties associated with the planned operating regime.
The exceptions to the annual reporting requirement are as follows:
the construction monitoring report,
the „as-built‟ survey reports,
the ramping rate study report, and
the reporting on any non-compliance, emergency or unusual occurrences.
The construction monitoring report describing any environmental issues that arose during project
construction should be submitted to the Ministry of Environment and DFO within 60 days of project
completion (MWLAP 2004). Separate „as-built‟ survey reports should be submitted for the project
57
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
infrastructure and compensation habitat, with the report deadline being 60 days after completion of
construction. The report describing the ramping rate study and results should be submitted within 30
days of the completion of commissioning tests. Further ramping rate tests and refinement of the
prescribed ramping rate will be conducted through consultation with DFO. Any non-compliance events
or emergency situations involving stream flows, ramping rates, water temperature extremes, or issues
with either the fish screen or fishway, must be reported to MoE and DFO via telephone or email within
24 hours. Non-compliance reports describing the conditions of non-compliance, the contributing factors,
and measures taken to minimize immediate and future impacts must then be submitted to DFO and
MoE within a week of the incident. Non-compliance reports must be submitted in electronic format and
comply with all requirements set forth by MoE in the Water Licence, and DFO in the Fisheries Act
Authorization.
After five years of post-construction monitoring, a summary report will be required that evaluates the
need for additional monitoring. At this stage, the Fisheries Act Authorization or LoA issued by DFO as
part of the permitting process for the hydroelectric project will require renewal. The ongoing monitoring
required after five years of operation will be determined at this juncture.
Monitoring reports should be prepared following a standard format suggested by the Council of Science
Editors (2006). Sample documents may also be available from agency staff. All reports will be certified
by an appropriately qualified professional.
In addition to the submission of standard monitoring reports, it is expected that regulatory agencies will
collaborate in the development of a standardized data submission process to aid in the assessment of
local and regional impacts of multiple projects. Standardized electronic forms for data submission will
be created, similar to those that currently exist for data submission to the Fisheries Information
Summary System (MoE 2008). Once this database has been established, the provision of long-term
monitoring data will be a requirement of the DFO Fisheries Act Authorization or LoA, and will be
governed by the regulatory agencies. The usefulness of such a resource for comparing data across
many projects will rely on the adoption of the standardized monitoring methodologies outlined in this
report.
58
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 7. Components of an instream flow monitoring program for hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To ensure compliance with instream flow releases
Description
Stage pressure sensors and channel discharge measurements
Comparison Criteria
Discharge measurements over a range of flows (i.e., between 10% and 200% MAD)
Location
Typically at and downstream of the intake, and downstream of the powerhouse
Duration
Headpond or reservoir stage monitoring for the life of the project. Discharge measurements may be
terminated if headpond stage has been shown to accurately measure channel flow in the diversion section.
Methods
Continuous pressure transducers and/or velocity meters
Sample area
For pressure transducers: in headpond or river channel downstream of intake and powerhouse; for velocity
meters: in instream flow release pipes.
Parameters
Stage in mm; discharge in m3/s
Sensitivity/accuracy
±2 mm for pressure transducers (i.e., discharge rating accuracy of <7% with 20+ verticals)
Sample no.
To calibrate pressure sensors, 10 discharge measurements (20+ verticals) per stream; for headpond
sensors, 6 measurements are to be taken at the level of minimum flow release to provide high accuracy
during low flow levels
Frequency
15 second scan, two minute log
Timing
Continuous
Measure
constraints
For pressure transducers, select a mainstem site with adequate protection from debris for the standpipe,
avoid placing transducer downstream of major local inflow, and avoid sites that dewater in low flow.
Wherever possible a stable hydraulic control (i.e. bedrock) should be used.
Analytical test
n/a (compliance monitoring)
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
Table 8. Components involved in testing and determining ramping rates for hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To test the effectiveness of standard ramping rates and, based on test results, determine long-term
ramping rates that minimize the risk of stranding fish. Flow ramping is defined here as a gradual or
progressive alteration of discharge in a stream channel resulting from the operation of a hydroelectric
facility, with a ramping rate defined as the rate of flow change (i.e., m3/s or cfs) or stage change (cm/h) per
unit time (Cathcart 2005)
Description
Monitor ramping rates, survey for fish stranding
Comparison Criteria
Standard ramping rates are 2.5 cm/h when fry are present, and 5.0 cm/h at all other times
Location
Downstream of the intake and downstream of the powerhouse
Duration
Tests to be conducted during project commissioning to determine acceptable long-term ramping rates,
after which compliance with these ramping rates will be monitored continuously for the duration of the
project
Methods
Ramp down at the specified rates and measure the resulting stage change in sensitive habitats
downstream of the powerhouse and intake; survey sensitive habitats for fish stranding
Sample area
Spot locations in sensitive habitats downstream of the powerhouse and intake
Parameters
Ramping Rate in cm/h; number of fish stranded
Sensitivity/accuracy
±2 mm
Sample no.
Variable
Frequency
Once or twice during project commissioning, depending on the presence of fry, and then continuously once
long-term ramping rates have been determined
Timing
When fry and juvenile fish are present; if a project is commissioned when fry are not present (January –
May), an additional test should be made when flows are below design flow levels and when fry are present
(i.e. worst case conditions). Once these tests are complete, ramping rates will be monitored continuously
through interpretation of flow data to ensure compliance with prescribed ramping rate (see Table 7).
Measure constraints
n/a
Analytical test
n/a
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 9. Components of a construction monitoring program for hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To comply with the federal Fisheries Act and provincial Water Act in protecting fish habitat.
Description
Monitoring of construction and implementation of mitigation measures such as: work area isolation; fish
salvage; deleterious substance and spill management; concrete materials use; sediment, runoff and erosion
control; vegetation management; and site restoration.
Comparison Criteria
n/a
Location
All construction situated either instream or in the riparian zone
Duration
Continuous throughout project construction
Methods
Full-time monitoring at the start of construction and during any instream works or sensitive activity, and on a
daily basis at all other times. Documentation of construction through notes and photographs.
Sample area
Construction site and downstream area
Parameters
n/a
Sensitivity/accuracy
n/a
Sample no.
n/a
Frequency
During construction
Timing
During construction
Measure
constraints
n/a
Analytical test
n/a
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
Table 10. Components of a fish screen and fishway monitoring program for hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To monitor the effectiveness of fish screens in preventing fish entrainment and fishways in allowing
migration
Description
Examine Coanda screens and fishways prior to and during critical times and take steps to improve
performance, if required. Use fish abundance data to make inferences on the effectiveness of the fishway in
facilitating migration.
Comparison Criteria
Baseline fish distribution upstream and downstream of the intake can be used as an indication of fishway
effectiveness.
Location
Fishways and screens
Duration
Lifespan of project
Methods
Juvenile and adult fish sampling will be dependent on habitat type and fisheries resources, but may include
electrofishing, snorkel surveys, PIT tag monitoring, radiotelemetry tags and hydroacoustics (see Table 15 for
more details).
Sample area
Upstream and downstream of the fishway; at the fish screen
Parameters
Catch-per-unit-effort (#fish/sec, # fish/hr); density (# fish/m2); biomass (g/m2), water level in mm
Sensitivity/accuracy
±0.1 g; ± 2 mm (water level)
Sample no.
n/a
Frequency
Bi-annually
Timing
Prior to, and during, critical times such as rainbow trout spawning (April 15 to May 15) and during the low
flow period
Measure
constraints
Fish abundance and density: conduct during critical times; preferably with water clarity >30 cm; and water
temperature ≥ 5°C; release all fish unharmed; standardize effort by area and intensity
Analytical test
Paired comparisons between sites upstream and downstream of fishway
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
Table 11. Components of a compensation habitat monitoring program for hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To evaluate the effectiveness of compensation habitats in compensating for lost habitat and assess if no net
loss in the productive capacity of fish habitat is achieved as a result of project construction and operation.
Description
Measurement of habitat dimensions, evaluation of habitat quality through physical parameter measurements
(depth, velocity, substrate, cover) and monitoring of water level and temperature. Confirmation of fish use of
compensation habitats through juvenile and adult fish sampling.
Comparison Criteria
Should habitat characteristics change such that habitat suitability is reduced, the compensation habitats will
be restored as necessary.
Location
Compensation habitats
Duration
10 years
Methods
Evaluation will be done by measuring the physical dimensions of the constructed habitat and calculating
habitat useable area. Water level and temperature measurements will generally follow the guidance in Table
7 and Table 13, respectively. Juvenile and adult fish sampling will be completed following methods in Table
15.
Sample area
Compensation habitats
Parameters
CPUE (#fish/second, # fish/hour); density (#fish/m2); biomass (g/m2), Temperature (°C), water level in mm
Sensitivity/accuracy
±0.1 g; ±0.1°C; ± 2 mm (water level)
Sample no.
Minimum of two samples of juvenile abundance in compensation habitat; single survey of adult abundance
Frequency
Fish abundance and density in years 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10; physical characteristics when the compensation
habitat is completed, then 1, 5 and 10 years after construction.
Timing
Year round for temperature and water level; habitat measurements and fish sampling late in growing season
Measure
constraints
Fish abundance and density: sample when flows are between 30 and 50% MAD; water clarity >30 cm; and
water temperature ≥ 7°C; release all fish unharmed; standardize effort by area and intensity; measure
habitat usability to standardize areal unit measure
Analytical test
Use BACI design if improving existing habitat, or use paired site comparisons with year as a factor
75
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
Table 12. Components of a footprint impact verification program for hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To quantify the as-built footprint impact areas and characteristics
Description
Measure areal extent and magnitude of impact
Comparison Criteria
Areal measures and characteristics laid out in environmental impact assessment
Location
Intake, penstock, powerhouse, access roads, transmission line
Duration
One time measurement following project construction; annual vegetation assessment for five years postconstruction
Methods
Measurements on-the-ground and/or from aerial photos based on the overlap of project structures and work
areas: evaluation of magnitude of effect based on impact assessment criteria. Document instream bed
characteristics and riparian condition. Document success of re-vegetation: replant with native species as
necessary
Sample area
Areal measurement of entire area, supported with length and width measurements of individual sites.
Parameters
Area in m2
Sensitivity/accuracy
± 10%
Sample no.
n/a
Frequency
One-time footprint impact verification survey, followed by annual vegetation assessment
Timing
Following project completion, when mitigation of disturbed areas has been completed, and then annually late
in growing season.
Measure
constraints
n/a
Analytical test
n/a
76
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
Table 13. Components of a water temperature monitoring program for stream-based hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To determine project effects on stream temperature and assess whether project-related effects are
biologically significant and may affect the growth, survival or reproductive success of the fish population
Description
Temperature
Comparison Criteria
2 years of baseline data, including maximum, minimum and average temperatures in critical periods
Location
Diversion section (impact), upstream (control), and downstream (impact, during operations only)
Duration
2 year pre-construction baseline and 5 years post-construction
Methods
Continuous temperature recorders
Sample area
Spot locations at downstream end of diversion section, below the diversion section and in upstream section
above the influence of the headpond
Parameters
Water temperature in °C
Sensitivity/accuracy
±0.2°C
Sample no.
One sampling location in each section (two temperature monitors at each site); more sites may be required
in streams where ice build-up was identified as having potential residual adverse effects in the EIA
Frequency
Hourly (or less)
Timing
Continuous
Measure
constraints
Select mainstem site away from temperature edge effects; avoid sites that dewater in low flow
Analytical test
BACI: express in appropriate format for issues being addressed, e.g. for fish rearing: degree days in growing
season: days when temperature is >18 oC, >20 oC, or <1oC
77
Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
Table 14. Components of a stream channel morphology monitoring program for stream-based hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To monitor project impacts on channel stability and sediment conditions during operations and evaluate how
any changes will affect the availability and suitability of fish habitat
Description
Topographical surveys, surface substrate surveys through tape grid samples; photo survey points; aerial
photography; bedload substrate surveys
Comparison Criteria
Pre-construction and post-construction, following a 1-in-10 year flood event or after five years, whichever
comes first
Location
Headpond; two transects downstream of the powerhouse; five transects in the diversion section, where
practical
Duration
Pre-construction survey and after a 1-in-10 year flood event or after five years, whichever comes first
Methods
Photo survey points and tape grid surveys in diversion and downstream sections; detailed topographical
survey, bulk sediment and photo point sampling in the headpond; overflight with 1:1,000 scale photos.
Thalweg survey profile in diversion section.
Sample area
n/a
Parameters
n/a
Sensitivity/accuracy
n/a
Sample no.
Detailed survey in headpond, and a minimum of two transects downstream of the powerhouse, and five
transects in the diversion section
Frequency
Once pre-project, and once after a 1-in-10 year flood event or after 5 years, whichever comes first
Timing
Survey transects following a large flood event (1-in-10 year flood)
Measure
constraints
n/a
Analytical test
n/a
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
Table 15. Components of a fish community monitoring program for stream-based hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To monitor fish community health during operations and identify any changes in abundance, density,
condition, distribution or timing of migration
Description
Number of fish by species and life stage per unit area; body weight and fork length of all fish captured;
scale samples from a range of size classes; area of sampling; usability of habitat; date of first and last
observance during migration period; temperature, alkalinity and conductivity
Comparison Criteria
A minimum of 2 years of baseline data
Location
Diversion section (impact) and upstream of intake and headpond (control) (or alternative control)
Duration
A minimum of 2 years of baseline data and 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years post-construction
Methods
a) Electrofishing via the removal method using 3 or more passes in a net enclosed area; b) snorkelling or
minnow trapping or angling; c) on-site measurement of fork length and weight; d) scale collection; e) lab
analysis of age; f) photo-documentation of site; g) measure depth, velocity and substrate in enclosure to
quantify habitat usability (see Hatfield et al. 2007).
Sample area
Minimum 100 m2 per electrofishing site: greater area required if fish density <0.1 fish /m2
Parameters
CPUE (# fish/sec, # fish/hr); density (# fish/m2); biomass (g/m2 or g); age (yr); fork length (mm)
Sensitivity/accuracy
±0.1 g; ±1 mm
Sample no.
10 sampling sites in total: 5 in diversion (impact) section, 5 in upstream (control) section (or alternative
control)
Frequency
A minimum of 2 years of baseline data; 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years post-construction
Timing
Late in growing season
Measure
constraints
Conduct when flows are between 30 and 50% MAD; water clarity >30 cm; and water temperature ≥ 7°C;
release all fish unharmed; standardize effort by area and intensity; measure habitat usability to standardize
areal unit measure
Analytical test
BACI: normalize data and use ANOVA or use bootstrapping tests of difference between groups (rotating
comparisons) if data fail normalization tests (Kruskal-Wallis). Examine potential to combine all streams in a
general linear model with stream, period, treatment (control) as factors and fish abundance, biomass or
density as a dependent variable.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 16. Components of a water quality monitoring program for stream-based hydroelectric projects.
Component
Objective
Description
Comparison Criteria
Location
Duration
Methods
Sample area
Parameters
Sensitivity/accuracy
Sample no.
Frequency
Timing
Measure
constraints
Analytical test
Description
To determine whether water quality changes during operations to the extent that the productive capacity of fish
habitat may be adversely affected
Dissolved oxygen, total gas pressure, turbidity, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, specific
conductivity, total alkalinity, pH, total phosphorus, ortho-phosphorus, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. If the stream
is the receiving water for a lake that has been dammed (or a reservoir that has been created) and soil and
vegetation around the lake are expected to be flooded, then the following should also be measured: dissolved
organic carbon, sulfate, total metals (including ultra trace mercury and methylmercury), and dissolved metals
(including ultra trace mercury and methylmercury).
2 years of baseline data; average, minimum and maximum parameter values
Diversion section (impact), upstream (control), and downstream (impact, during operations only)
2 year pre-construction baseline and for 5 years during operations
In situ data collection with water quality meters (n = 3) and collection of samples for laboratory analysis (n = 3)
Spot locations at downstream end of diversion section, in upstream section above influence of headpond, and
downstream of powerhouse (during operations only)
Dissolved oxygen (mg/L and % saturation), total gas pressure (ΔP in mm Hg), turbidity (NTU), total suspended
solids (mg/L), total dissolved solids (mg/L), specific conductivity (µS/cm), total alkalinity (CaCO3 mg/L), pH, total
phosphorus (mg/L), ortho-phosphorus (mg/L), ammonia (mg/L), nitrite (mg/L), and nitrate (mg/L). If the stream
is the receiving water for a lake that has been dammed (or a reservoir that has been created) and soil and
vegetation around the lake are expected to be flooded, then the following should also be measured: dissolved
organic carbon (mg/L), sulfate (mg/L), total metals (including ultra trace mercury and methylmercury) (mg/L),
and dissolved metals (including ultra trace mercury and methylmercury) (mg/L).
Varies by parameter
One site in each sample area, n = 3 per sampling site
Pre-construction: quarterly; post-construction: twice a year (may be quarterly or more frequent depending on
site conditions)
Pre-construction: during typical flows of each season; post-construction: low flow periods near the beginning
and end of the growing season
Select mainstem sites, avoiding sites immediately downstream of significant local inflows
BACI: normalize data and use ANOVA or use bootstrapping tests of difference between groups (rotating
comparisons) if data fail normalization tests use a Kruskal-Wallis test. Examine potential to combine all streams
in a general linear model with stream, period, treatment (control) as factors
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 17. Components of an invertebrate drift monitoring program for stream-based hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To test whether changes occur in the density, biomass or community composition of the invertebrate drift
population to the extent that the productive capacity of fish habitat in the diversion and/or downstream
sections may be reduced
Description
Monitor density, biomass and diversity of invertebrates by genus/family per unit flow
Comparison Criteria
2 years of baseline data
Location
Diversion section (impact), upstream of intake and headpond (control), and downstream of tailrace. Further
sampling sites may be required depending on the length of the proposed diversion reach.
Duration
2 years of pre-construction baseline and 5 years post-construction
Methods
a) drift net samples soak for 4-6 hours; b) taxonomic identification to genus or family; c) photo
documentation of site; d) measure depth and velocity and discharge to quantify flow (see Hatfield et al.
2007)
Sample area
Drift net sampler (30 cm x 30 cm mouth, 1 m length) or equivalent; 250-μm mesh
Parameters
Number of individuals (#) and biomass (mg dry weight) per unit of volume (m3); family richness (# of families
present); family dominance (% contribution of total biomass from five most abundant families); Simpson‟s
diversity; community structure (Bray-Curtis index)
Sensitivity/accuracy
n/a
Sample no.
5 replicates (i.e., nets) per site on each sample date
Frequency
Twice per year in the growing season (May - September) (separated by one month, if practical).
Timing
Under base flow conditions in the growing season
Measure
constraints
Where feasible, conduct when flows are between 30 and 50% MAD; water clarity >30 cm; and water
temperature ≥ 7°C; all nets placed in downstream half of riffles
Analytical test
BACI: normalize data and use ANOVA or use bootstrapping tests of difference between groups (rotating
comparisons) if data fail normalization tests (Kruskal-Wallis). Examine potential to combine all streams in a
general linear model with stream, period, treatment (control) as factors and invertebrate abundance,
biomass or density as a dependent variable.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
Table 18. Components of a bathymetry monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To monitor project-related changes in bathymetry (e.g., sedimentation) that may adversely affect the
availability and suitability of fish habitat
Description
Monitor changes in mean and maximum depth, volume, extent, and distribution of littoral zone habitat
Comparison Criteria
Baseline survey
Location
Control and impact lakes
Duration
Life of project
Methods
Lake surveyed in a series of transects from a motor-powered boat, equipped with depth sounder. See RISC
1999 for detailed methodology
Sample area
Control and impact lakes
Parameters
Mean and maximum depth (m), volume (m3), area of littoral zone (m2), percentage of littoral zone habitat (%)
Sensitivity/accuracy
± 1 m; ± 1 m3; ± 1 m2
Sample no.
n/a
Frequency
Every five years post-construction
Timing
Open water season
Measure
constraints
n/a
Analytical test
Compare depth, volume and area changes against baseline
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 19. Components of a limnology and water quality monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric projects.
Component
Objective
Description
Comparison Criteria
Location
Duration
Methods
Sample area
Parameters
Sensitivity/accuracy
Sample no.
Frequency
Timing
Measure
constraints
Analytical test
*
Description
To determine whether water quality changes during operations to the extent that the productive capacity of fish
habitat may be adversely affected
Water: Secchi depth, dissolved oxygen and temperature profile, total gas pressure, turbidity, total dissolved
solids, total suspended solids, specific conductivity, total alkalinity, pH, total phosphorus, ortho-phosphorus,
ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, total nitrogen, sulfate*, dissolved organic carbon*, total metals (including ultra trace
mercury* and methylmercury*), and dissolved metals (including ultra trace mercury* and methylmercury*)
2 years of baseline data; average, minimum and maximum parameter values
Impact and control lakes
2 year pre-construction baseline and for 5 years during operations
In-situ data collection with water quality meters and continuous temperature loggers, and collection of samples
for laboratory analysis
Limnological station at the deepest point of the lake (other stations may be required depending on lake
bathymetry), sample at surface (0.5 m depth) if lake is <6 m deep, sample at surface and bottom (1.0 m above
substrate) if lake is >6 m deep; continuous temperature loggers at various depths (dependent on thermocline)
Water: Secchi depth (m), temperature (°C), turbidity (NTU), specific conductivity (µS/cm), dissolved oxygen
(mg/L and % saturation), total gas pressure (ΔP in mm Hg), pH, total dissolved solids, total suspended solids,
total alkalinity, total phosphorus, ortho-phosphorus, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, total nitrogen, sulfate*, dissolved
organic carbon*, total metals (including ultra trace mercury* and methylmercury*), and dissolved metals
(including ultra trace mercury* and methylmercury*) (all mg/L)
Lake Sediment and Soil to be Inundated*: ammonia (available) (mg/kg), nitrate (mg/kg), nitrite (mg/kg), total
phosphorus (mg/kg), sulfate (mg/kg), pH, redox potential (mV), particle size analysis (%), loss on ignition (to
normalize sediment mercury concentrations, %), SEM-AVS (simultaneously extracted metals and acid volatile
sulfides, μmol/kg), metals (including ultra trace mercury and methylmercury, mg/kg)
Varies by parameter
Minimum of one site per lake, n = 3 at each sampling site and depth
Quarterly water quality samples; hourly temperature recordings
Late in winter, spring, summer, fall; continuous water temperature recording
n/a
BACI: normalize data and use ANOVA or use bootstrapping tests of difference between groups (rotating
comparisons) if data fail normalization tests (Kruskal-Wallis). Examine potential to combine both lakes in a
general linear model with lake, period, treatment (control) as factors
Parameters only need to be included if soil and vegetation are expected to be flooded.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
Table 20. Components of a fish habitat monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To monitor changes to the quality and availability of fish habitat, particularly in the littoral zone
Description
Monitor the amount and quality of spawning and rearing habitat, accessibility to spawning grounds located in
tributaries, amount and species composition of aquatic and riparian species, and document areas of bank
instability
Comparison Criteria
Baseline survey
Location
Shoreline assessment and bathymetric survey (see Table 18) of control and impact lakes
Duration
Ten years
Methods
Shoreline assessment using geocoded and orthorectified aerial photographs in conjunction with a boat or
foot survey. Littoral zone delineated into zones based on depth, substrate, vegetation and cover
Sample area
Littoral zone of control and impact lakes
Parameters
Depth (m), substrate, vegetation and cover (%)
Sensitivity/accuracy
± 1 m; ± 5%
Sample no.
n/a
Frequency
Two, five and ten years post-construction
Timing
Surveys to be conducted late in growing season to determine extent of vegetative cover
Measure
constraints
n/a
Analytical test
Qualitative assessment of changes in habitat quality and availability based on comparison of baseline and
post-construction surveys
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
Table 21. Components of a fish community monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric projects.
Component
Objective
Description
Comparison Criteria
Location
Duration
Methods
Sample area
Parameters
Sensitivity/accuracy
Sample no.
Frequency
Timing
Measure
constraints
Analytical test
Description
To monitor fish community health during operations and identify changes in abundance, density, condition or
distribution
Number of fish by species and life stage per unit effort; body weight and fork length of all fish captured; scale
and fin ray samples from a range of size classes, mercury-related data*
Two years of baseline data
Impact and control lakes
2 years of baseline data and for 10 years during operations
a) gillnets; b) minnow traps; c) hydroacoustic surveys; d) crayfish traps; e) electrofishing; f) beach seines; g)
angling; h) on-site measurement of fork length and weight; i) scale and fin ray collection; j) lab analysis of
age; h) mercury body burden*
Dependent on lake size and habitat complexity
Gillnets: # fish/100 m2/24 hr minnow and crayfish traps: # fish/hr; electrofishing: # fish/min; beach seines: #
fish/m2; angling: # fish/hr; length: mm; weight: g; age: yr.
Mercury related sampling*: Section 4.2 of USEPA (2010) provides sampling guidance for studying mercury
concentrations in fish, including species, ages, parameters to be sampled (total mercury: mg/kg normalized
to lipid content; methylmercury: mg/kg normalized to lipid content; lipid content: mg/kg; length: mm; weight:
g; and age: yr), sample type (i.e., composite samples), study design, sampling frequency and timing, and
sample size
±0.1 g; ±1 mm
Dependent on lake size and habitat complexity
2 years of baseline data; 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years post-construction
Late in growing season
n/a
BACI: normalize data and use ANOVA or use bootstrapping tests of difference between groups (rotating
comparisons) if data fail normalization tests (Kruskal-Wallis). Examine potential to combine all set locations
in a general linear model with lake, period, treatment (control) as factors and fish catch-per-unit-effort as a
dependent variable
* Parameters only need to be included if soil and vegetation are expected to be flooded. These parameters should also be sampled in fish in the
stream that is affected by the project.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Project
Table 22. Components of a zooplankton and benthic invertebrate community monitoring program for lake-based hydroelectric projects.
Component
Description
Objective
To test whether zooplankton and benthic invertebrate communities are affected by project development to
the extent that the productive capacity of fish habitat may be affected
Description
Monitor density, diversity and taxonomic composition of zooplankton and benthic invertebrates by
genus/family per unit area or volume
Comparison Criteria
Minimum of 2 years of baseline data from control and impact lakes
Location
Limnological station at the deepest part of the control and impact lakes
Duration
Minimum of 2 years pre-construction baseline and 5 years post-construction
Methods
Zooplankton: conical net with mesh size between 64 and 256 μm towed at constant rate from known depth
at 0.5 m/s; benthic invertebrates: Ekman grab samples sieved through a 200-μm mesh; taxonomic
identification to genus or family
Sample area
Dependent on size of conical net sampler and Ekman grab sampler
Parameters
Number of individuals (#) and biomass (mg dry weight) per m3 or m2; family richness (# of families present);
family dominance (% contribution of total biomass from five most abundant families); Simpson‟s diversity;
community structure (Bray-Curtis index)
Sensitivity/accuracy
n/a
Sample no.
Three replicate samples at each sampling location on each date
Frequency
Annually
Timing
Once late in the growing season (August/September)
Measure
constraints
n/a
Analytical test
BACI: normalize data and use ANOVA or use bootstrapping tests of difference between groups (rotating
comparisons) if data fail normalization tests (Kruskal-Wallis). Examine potential to combine lakes in a
general linear model with lake and treatment (control) as factors and zooplankton/invertebrate density as a
dependent variable.
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
APPENDIX A:
SAMPLE OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING PLAN
TROUT CREEK HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT:
OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING PLAN
Prepared for:
Trout Creek Hydropower Inc.
Prepared by:
Jeremy R. Fisher, R.P.Bio.
May 2013
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Long-Term Aquatic Monitoring Protocols for New and Upgraded Hydroelectric Projects
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES ............................................................................................................ III
LIST OF TABLES .............................................................................................................. IV
1.
INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................... 1
2.
APPROACH .............................................................................................................. 3
3.
MONITORING COMPONENTS ................................................................................. 4
3.1
3.2
3.3
Water Quantity ........................................................................................... 4
3.1.1
Flow Magnitude and Timing ........................................................ 4
3.1.2
Ramping Rates ............................................................................. 6
Mitigation and Compensation Measures ................................................. 9
3.2.1
Fish Screens and Fishways ........................................................ 9
3.2.2
Habitat Compensation ............................................................... 10
Aquatic and Riparian Habitat .................................................................. 11
3.3.1
Footprint Impact Verification .................................................... 11
3.3.2
Re-vegetation Assessment ....................................................... 12
3.4
Water Temperature .................................................................................. 14
3.5
Water Quality ............................................................................................ 15
3.6
Stream Channel Morphology .................................................................. 17
3.7
Fish Community ....................................................................................... 18
3.8
Invertebrate Drift ...................................................................................... 21
3.9
Species at Risk and Species of Concern ............................................... 23
4.
REPORTING ........................................................................................................... 24
5.
REFERENCES ......................................................................................................... 26
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