case study of the Brunette River watershed in British Columbia, Canada

Urbanization has a dramatic impact on the health of local streams. The complexity of the many stressors, pathways and ecosystem functions at risk presents a serious challenge to traditional scientific and management approaches. To overcome this complexity, this study developed a general framework and specific procedures for a screening level ecological risk assessment for urban watersheds, and applied it to the case of the Brunette River watershed, a small urban watershed of 70 km2 in the Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada. A generic conceptual model was developed and a set of key indicators was selected: impervious areas, riparian habitat, pollutant loadings, water quality, sediment quality, fish health and public health. Information on each of the indicators was transformed into a single dimensionless score. Two indicators Ž . impervious areas and water quality were selected for a more detailed evaluation of spatial and temporal patterns using a Geographic Information System. Results were displayed in hypermedia modules and presented to local watershed professionals and decision-makers as part of the ongoing development of the methodology. The integrated approach, using a limited set of key indicators and GIS maps to visualize complex scientific information, was well received as a decision support tool

A good case study published at Elsevier Science http://www.paulzandbergen.com/PUBLICATIONS_files/Zandbergen_JHM_1998.pdf