Results of a peer review workshop on the draft report “Canada’s policy for conservation of wild Pacific salmon: proposed stream, lake, and estuarine habitat indicators; 15-16 January, 2009”

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A workshop to allow peer review discussion of DFO’s draft report “Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon: Proposed Stream, Lake, and Estuarine Habitat Indicators” was held in Vancouver, BC, on January 15-16, 2009. Strategy 2 of the Wild Salmon Policy (WSP) requires assessment of habitat conditions within salmon Conservation Units (CUs), based on appropriate habitat indicators with associated metrics and benchmarks. The main goals for the workshop were: 1) to assess the efficacy of the report’s proposed habitat indicators in meeting Strategy 2 objectives, 2) make recommendations for improving the efficacy of these proposed indicators to meet Strategy 2 objectives in view of available resources, and 3) continue dialogue on Strategy 2 habitat indicators. Workshop participants included representatives from DFO, BC Ministry of Environment, Washington State Conservation Commission, Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board, Upper Fraser Conservation Alliance, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, Streamkeepers, Skeena Wild Conservation Trust, Skeena Fisheries, and Simon Fraser University. The workshop included formal reviews of the report by invited experts as well as informal discussion by workshop participants over the course of two days.

Formal reviews and comments from workshop participants suggested that the suite of proposed habitat indicators presented in the report was acceptable for moving forward on Strategy 2 of the WSP, with an expectation that continued refinement of indicators will be an iterative process. General opinion was that the report will provide a strong foundation for a Strategy 2 habitat indicators monitoring program. However, it was suggested that the report would benefit from some restructuring to improve reader understanding of the habitat indicator selection process employed by DFO and the rationales used for selection of associated indicator benchmarks/thresholds. This document summarizes the formal reviews and discussions at the workshop and presents recommended next steps to improve the structure and content of the “Proposed Stream, Lake, and Estuarine Habitat Indicators” report.