Watershed Health Analysis on the Chilako River Corridor in British Columbia

The Chilako river is a 6th order river located approximately 15km west of Prince George, British Columbia. It serves as a main tributary to the Nechako River and is identified as a key spawning habitat for salmon in central British Columbia. However, disturbances such as agriculture, forest harvesting, forest fires and the Mountain Pine beetle have dramatically changed the ecosystems in the area. Landowners and residents have observed changesand expressed concern about flooding, deforestation, and stream bank erosion. Studies conducted on the Chilako have found a degradation in fish habitats, riparian vegetation, and beaver populations. Sparking mitigation efforts and an increased attention to environmental monitoring. However, no established baseline perspective and information gaps in the form of data collection and continuous monitoring make effective recovery planning difficult. This project aims to address these issues by (1) discussing literature on the relationships between riparian vegetation, beaver habitats and channel response and how this applies to the Chilako river corridor. (2) Develop methods that use available satellite imagery and GIS software to analyze key ecosystem health indicators such as riparian vegetation and beaver habitats and identify watersheds impacted by habitat degradation.

Landen Matechuk
Faculty Supervisor: 
Marwan Hassan
British Columbia
Partner University: