Conserving Skeena Fish Populations and Their Habitat

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This report constitutes the Skeena Watershed Fish Sustainability Process Stage I document. Conserving Skeena Fish Populations and Their Habitat describes the planning process that includes prioritizing and selecting sub-basins to review. A biophysical profile of the Skeena Watershed is given which includes an overview of the status of salmon and fresh-water fishes. The initial selection of watersheds was evaluated on historic escapement information, which is used as an indicator of habitat quality, and is further refined by consideration of stocks at risk, habitat issues, development pressures, aboriginal values and interests, community interests, sustainability and availability of conservation and restoration efforts, and government priorities. Profiles were developed for eleven sub-watersheds: the Lakelse, Kispiox, Morice, Babine, Bear, Zymoetz, Kitsumkalum, Gitnadoix, Kitwanga, Ecstall and Skeena West. The sub-watershed profiles describe the environmental setting, fisheries values and resources, development activities, and management issues. The watershed strategic overview contributes to knowledge of environmental issues and cumulative effects, external and anthropogenic factors, Skeena fish and community values, ranking of productive sub-basins, and provides a strategic overview matrix. The Kispiox, Lakelse, and Morice watersheds are identified as Stage II candidates.