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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: A review of the effectiveness of fish habitat compensation projects in Canada

Published source details

Harper D.J. & Quigley J.T. (2005) A comparison of the area extent of fish habitat gains and losses associated with selected compensation projects in Canada. Fisheries, 30, 18-25


Habitat manipulation may be used in an attempt to restore or enhance freshwater fish stocks (mostly salmonids but also sometimes other species, especially those of conservation concern) in lakes, streams and rivers but the effectiveness of such management is often uncertain or unknown.

A review was undertaken of the 10 published studies in Canada that evaluated the effectiveness of 103 fish habitat compensation projects in achieving the objective of no net loss of productive capacity of fish habitat.

Combined, the 103 compensation projects assessed, created and/or restored 493,205 m² of fish habitat to offset detrimental habitat impacts over an area totalling 1,142,648 m². Most of the compensation projects assessed were within estuarine or riverine in-channel habitats. Forestry and urban development activities resulted in the greatest percentage of compensation projects. Overall, 64% of the projects were deemed to have achieved no net loss. Fifty percent of the projects had a compensation ratio (compensation area: impacted area) of less than 1:1.

The small number of studies found in the literature suggests that performance evaluations of habitat compensation projects are rarely conducted.

Note: If using or referring to this published study, please read and quote the original paper. Please do not quote as a case as this is for previously unpublished work only.