Feedback received from stakeholders involved in existing and potential habitat restoration programs in Northeast British Columbia’s (NE BC) boreal caribou ranges indicate there is a need for the development of a sampling design approach and monitoring protocol to enable consistent monitoring for restoration treatment effectiveness across the region. Currently there is no regulated system in place for monitoring or reporting of boreal caribou habitat restoration efforts. In collaboration with the BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society (OGRIS), Golder Associates Ltd. (Golder) has developed this Boreal Caribou Habitat Restoration Monitoring Framework (the Framework) with the following objectives.
- To determine if restoration treatments are being implemented according to project requirements after one growing season.
- To provide a consistent approach to vegetation monitoring and monitoring protocols to enable the development of a regional dataset for tracking vegetation growth rates and / or the relative success of treatments at restoration treatment sites over time.
- To provide performance measures and recommended targets to determine if restoration treatments are meeting pre-determined recommended targets for native vegetation growth and access control after five, ten and fifteen year growing seasons.
- To provide guidance on monitoring timeline and frequency.
- To provide a regional monitoring framework that can be used to determine if restoration treatments are successful at accelerating the re-establishment of vegetation, that will in the long term achieve caribou habitat goals.
The Boreal Caribou Habitat Restoration Monitoring Framework describes the rationale and recommended protocols to monitor the effectiveness of boreal caribou habitat restoration treatments with consideration of both a Project-level scale and a NE BC restoration Program-level scale. Performance measures and recommended targets defined within the Framework are used to gauge the effectiveness of treatment measures applied over short term and long term periods.
Although recommendations are provided to support a rigorous monitoring program on the protocols and frequency of monitoring, reporting of results, and adaptive management approach, the reviewer is cautioned that these details are provided as a suggestion only based on previous restoration programs occurring outside of BC. The intended audience can use these recommendations in support of Project-level compliance monitoring or to understand restoration effectiveness at a broader spatial and temporal Program-level. The responsible authority should be contacted to clarify the use of these recommendations when a Project or Program-specific restoration monitoring plan is developed.