Small hydro development proposals represent the largest number of referrals by sector to the Habitat Management Program in Pacific Region (British Columbia and Yukon Territory). Standardized monitoring methodologies are required for consistency and for comparing data across many projects. This is aligned with the National Habitat Management Program, whereby monitoring results are to be used to evaluate, modify and improve Program delivery. The adoption of standardized methods for both departmental monitoring and proponent monitoring will allow the development of more robust data sets that can be used to evaluate environmental effects and program success. The development of scientifically defensible monitoring methodologies will directly support the departmental priority of performance measurement and quality of service to Canadians.
The DFO Ecosystem Management Branch – Habitat Management Program, Pacific Region (DFO-HMP) has requested science advice in the form of peer review of the proposed standardized habitat monitoring protocols for new and upgraded Hydro-electric projects in British Columbia and Yukon Territory. The purpose of the monitoring protocols is to establish the parameters and types of monitoring necessary for the effective long-term monitoring of new hydroelectric projects, as well as those undergoing significant upgrades. They are intended to apply to small (<50 MW) and large (>50 MW) run-of-river hydroelectric projects involving streams or lakes, as well as projects that involve the creation of a storage reservoir. The monitoring protocols are to be used by proponents and/or Qualified Environmental Professionals (QEPs), both prior to submission of the development plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) application (to assist in the collection of the necessary baseline data) and during project operation, for the development of suitable effects monitoring programs. This protocol document is intended to serve as a companion piece to existing hydro project guidelines (Lewis et al, 2004; Hatfield et al, 2007); the emphasis of this document is on project operation, while the existing guidance documents emphasize baseline data collection in support of the project application.
— Excerpt from the meeting Terms of Reference