Species Habitat

Habitat & Species

Prev Indicator
Water Quality

Limited scientific information suggests that the health and abundance of aquatic habitat and species within the Liard sub-basin have not significantly changed in the Liard sub-basin. No documented sources of Indigenous Knowledge information related to changes in aquatic habitat and species were found.

The following table summarizes the availability of information for each Habitat and Species indicator.

Signs and Signals

Indigenous Knowledge Information and Data

Indigenous Knowledge Availability in Public Sources1
Science Information and Data2
Science Data Availability2

Fish

Oral histories and local observations of fish abundance, timing and distribution, species diversity and fish health condition.

Local observations about changes in timing of local fishing activity and yield.

Some observations from few locations.

Fish (including salmon, suckers, pickerels, burbot) abundance, timing and distribution, species diversity and fish health condition/

Limited data available.

Wetlands

Oral histories and stories of wetland and forest (and other habitat / land use)

Local observations and oral histories of number, location and total area of wetlands

Some observations from few locations.

Number, location and total area of wetlands. Species diversity in wetlands where available.

Limited information on wetland cover and no information on change over time.

Scientific information on muskrat and beaver populations was not gathered for this report.

Riparian Forests

Local observations and oral histories of riparian forests

No information found.

Number, location, total area of riparian forests areas. Species diversity of riparian forests where available.

Limited data, only information available for the BC portion of the sub-basin.

1 Qualifiers for the availability of local and Indigenous Knowledge observations in publicly available sources: Limited = 1-2 observations; Some = 3-4 observations; Many = 5 or more observations
2 Qualifiers for the availability of science data in publicly available sources: Low = Individual studies or locations; Many = Network of monitoring stations across the basin

Fish

There is limited documented information regarding the status of fish populations in the Liard sub-basin.

Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) is suspected to be widespread in rivers and lakes in the Yukon portion of the sub-basin but has been assessed as a “species of special concern” across its range in Western Canada. It may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats, which for this species are specific habitat requirements and low reproductive potential that makes them particularly sensitive to habitat disturbance (e.g., from roads). There is currently no information available on the number or size of these Western Arctic Bull Trout populations. Bull Trout is subject to low-severity threats in the Muskwa and Prophet drainage areas, and moderately severe, imminent threats in the Fort Nelson area.[33]

Documented sources of Indigenous Knowledge information regarding changes in fish populations in the Liard sub-basin were not found, consistent with the findings of a previous literature review that also considered this topic.[34]

Wetlands & Riparian Forests

Riparian areas in the British Columbia portion of the Liard sub-basin are largely intact. Documented sources of information on wetlands and riparian forests in the sub-basin is limited.

All Liard sub-basins in British Columbia have at least 90% of their riparian ecosystems intact. The greatest disturbance to riparian ecosystems is due to forestry, agriculture and municipal activities.[35]
Documented sources of Indigenous Knowledge information regarding changes in wetland cover or riparian forests in the Liard sub-basin were not found.

Wetland near Fort Nelson, BC. Image source: Murray Foubister via Flickr Creative Commons (copyright-free).

The overall coverage of wetlands in the Liard sub-basin is small (1%), based on Land Cover statistics. A Canadian Wetland inventory completed recently indicates more wetland land cover than that estimated by land cover mapping cited above, but is still under development and requires field-validation.

Wetland Mapping for the Liard Sub-basin as part of a published Canadian Wetland Inventory that still requires validation.

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Health & Wellbeing