Watershed-based Fish Sustainability Planning is a four-stage ‘process’ recommended by MOE and DFO to provide direction in community and watershed planning. The Bella Coola Watershed Conservation Society (BCWCS) was formed in 2001 to act as a Planning Team and Technical Committee in preparing a Watershed-based Fish Sustainability Plan (WFSP) for the Bella Coola watershed. Since this time, various individuals have collaborated to complete a Stage I report, and a Stage II report. The Stage III report is now available online
Stage I Establishing Regional Priorities: This stage is led by government agencies and identifies watersheds, potential stakeholders, their interests and the resources available for fish and fish habitat conservation. Stage II Establishing Watershed Priorities: During this stage, Local Planning and Technical Committees develop a detailed watershed profile describing fish populations, their habitats, and the factors affecting their health and productivity. Potential management options and a strategic overview of the watershed are prepared. Stage III Developing a Watershed Plan: In this stage, local planning and Technical Committees identify how to achieve the objectives, targets, and strategies developed in Stage II. Stage IV Implementing and Improving the Plan: In this stage, government and Planning Committees carry out the actions identified in Stage II and III. Some of the benefits of the planning process to date have been: the formation of a local planning team or round table (BCWCS) the development of a local Resource Centre (BCWCS office at high school) ongoing discussion and participation between agencies in the planning process. Stages III and IV began in 2007 and have resulted in on-the-ground and in-stream activities of habitat and fish stock restoration, enhancement and rehabilitation. Most notably are the mapping projects carried out in early 2009 and 2010 in both the Snooka Creek and Fish Creek projects. As with any process, funding and participant input will be required to drive the process ahead. Each Stage of this plan is an ongoing process and Stage II and III strategies and objectives will be changing and evolving with time and items will be continually added, updated or listed as completed in the Official Plan.