Commission and Treaty 8 First Nations Install Hydrometric Stations in Area Streams

Commission and Treaty 8 First Nations Install Hydrometric Stations in Area Streams

The BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) is working with three Treaty 8 First Nations communities to establish hydrometric stations for the collection of streamflow data in small northeast B.C. watersheds during a two year period.

The three Treaty 8 First Nations communities - Prophet River, Saulteau and Doig River - have expressed water as their highest priority and concern, primarily related to water withdrawals from small watersheds and the reliance on the Northeast Water Tool (NEWT) for decision making. NEWT is a map-based water information tool designed to provide the public with information on natural water supply, existing water rights, and environmental flow needs of rivers, lakes, and streams.

Through funding provided by the BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society (BC OGRIS), the intent of the project is to address a small watershed data gap and First Nations water concerns. The increased collaboration with Treaty 8 First Nations also provides the opportunity to integrate traditional knowledge into the western science quantitative streamflow measurement.

The streamflow data will be integrated into the hydrometric network to inform future water allocation and watershed management decisions in northeast B.C. “The long-term objective is to build stronger relationships with First Nations through knowledge sharing and to increase the robustness of the hydrologic model underlying NEWT, in support of water management decisions,” said Commission Hydrologist, Suzan Lapp.

Field work began in June 2019 with the installation of one hydrometric station in a small watershed near Prophet River First Nation and another in Le Bleu Creek near Saulteau First Nation. Installation of a third station is planned for August 2019 in the Osborne River near Doig River First Nation. Field work conducted in summer 2019 and spring/summer 2020 will go towards the establishment of a stage-discharge relationship to accurately quantify streamflow within each stream.