Nova Scotia Fish Habitat Assessment Protocol
Clean Nova Scotia, in collaboration with the NSLC Adopt-A-Stream, is developing a standardized fish habitat assessment methodology for specific use in Nova Scotia – the Nova Scotia Fish Habitat Assessment Protocol (NSFHAP). The assessment tool is intended to be used by the various individuals and groups involved in the protection, restoration, and assessment of freshwater aquatic ecosystems and will aid in the accurate assessment of fish habitat in our local rivers. The improved knowlege will help identify restoration needs, impacts of poor practises, and protection efforts.
The methodology will incorporate the use of Habitat Suitability Indices (HSI) to provide meaningful and accurate results from data collection. Habitat variables are assessed in the field and are related to water quality, river morphology and hydrology, river banks and riparian vegetation, and benthic macroinvertebrates. An online database will be provided for users to evaluate and store data. The tool makes use of existing projects and resources involved with fish habitat assessment including the NSLC Adopt-A-Stream, the Community Based Monitoring Network (CBEMN), and the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN).
The methodology was field tested throughout 2012 with the help of staff from Clean Nova Scotia, the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation, the Clean Annapolis River Project, and the NSLC Adopt a Stream. After revisions based on the field testing are completed, a final copy of the protocol will be available to interested users, hopefully in time for the 2013 field season. Please contact Clean Nova Scotia for more information.