Ministry of Environment

Fisheries InventoryFisheries Inventory

FAQ - Mapping

Watershed Identification

Q: For the figure examples in the Mapping Standards manual, waterbody identifiers were given to streams. However, the Reconnaissance (1:20,000) Fish and Fish Habitat Inventory: Standards and Procedures states that: "For the purpose of Fish and Fish Habitat inventories, the waterbody identifier is used for lakes and wetlands only" (Section 2.3.4). Do we have to include the waterbody identifier for streams?

A: Only the watershed code for the streams is required; waterbody identifier for streams is not needed.

Reach Information

Q: Are we required to place a reach break symbol at the end of all streams?

A: Reach breaks should be used at the end of a stream. If they are not present, it is assumed that the final reach extends to the top of the stream. Reach break symbols are used at confluences only where a stream enters or exits a lake, or where they clarify a situation.

Q: Please clarify the use of the termination of survey (ts) symbol.

A: The ts symbol is only intended to be used for the stream as a whole and not reach-by-reach. It is to show overall extent of work on a stream only where, for one reason or another, the whole length was not inventoried. As an example, if the project area only covered the Fraser River and tributaries from km 500 - 600, ts symbols would be placed on the river at these points to show overall extent of study.

Q: Is the sample site location symbol always placed on the stream? For a large number, e.g., 1234, the symbol will be large. How should we map a short reach that has several features?

A: We would prefer the symbol for the location of the sample site to be given priority and placed accurately on the stream and then other features be placed after this. However, in the case described, try and locate the sample site symbol on the stream and then locate feature symbols off the stream with a leader line going to the stream at the true location of the feature. Failing this, move all symbols off the stream and connect via leader lines. Place features in positions that would be cartographically neat/appropriate.

Site Data Symbol

Q: If a site had no visible channel, the Site Card would have no confinement or pattern, but the Reach Card would have confinement, etc., based on air photo interpretation. What is put on the site data symbol to indicate NVC?

A: The site data symbol would contain NVC with no other information. For sites identified as NVC the trim anomaly symbol labeled NVC can be used instead of the site data symbol.

Q: If no fish were caught, NFC is used on the site data symbol. How is this distinguished from where no fishing was done, e.g., for a dry channel or no visible channel?

A: NFC would be in the top (species) portion of the site data symbol. Use NS if not sampled or NVC if a no visible channel.

Reach Data Symbol

Q: What is placed in the reach data symbol for a sampled reach that was a wetland with no channel, and therefore, had no width, pattern, etc.?

A: In this situation, the first value would be a W followed by NA for not applicable and blank for gradient and pattern.

Q: What is placed in the reach data symbol for a sampled reach that had no visible channel?

A: The reach data symbol would just contain NVC.

Q: Is the reach data symbol filled in with information from the reach planning stage or from the Site Card?

A: The reach data symbol is filled with information from the reach planning stage. The site data symbol is filled with information from the site.

Fish Presence or Observation

Q: Should Salmon observation be redefined as Salmonid observation? If this applies only to salmon how do we define such species as BT and RB that fall under the salmonid category? Would these be tagged with "Other observation"?

A: "Salmon observation" should be used only in reference to Chinook, Coho, Chum, Pink, Sockeye and KoKanee. There is a symbol for "Sport fish observation" for other salmonids including Bull, Cutthroat and Rainbow trout.

Q: We have found several streams that have fisheries values but are not shown on TRIM or Forest Cover maps. We filled out cards for these streams. What do we do with the information?

A: This is a problem in many areas. We had to draw the line somewhere or some projects would have gotten completely out of hand. Use the TRIB symbol to indicate the presence of an unmapped stream. They can be mapped on a separate layer for the licensee or proponent map, but are not a part of our stream inventory standards. The problem is that not many companies have the ability to digitize accurately (to TRIM standards).

Watershed codes can be requested for these new streams and the data can be entered into FDIS. The sample site can be plotted, but will not be identified with any mapped stream.

Q: Are fish observations to be mapped on the project map only with the stream information summary symbol? Where does the fish observation symbol get used ... on the interpretive map only?

A: Historical information about fish is optional and is mapped on a separate layer on the Project Map. If it is NEWLY collected information, add the species codes to the Stream Information Summary Symbol.

Q: Is the fish presence symbol (open arrow), that indicates the non location-specific presence and is used at the mouth only, to be used for fish caught and observed during a fish inventory? Or is it to show both the field and historical information? Is it to show field information on the Project map and field and historic information on the Interpretive map?

A: Fish presence symbol can be used on the Project map as optional SEPARATE layer to represent historical information, but main use of this map is to show the NEW information collected. New fish information is added, in the form of species codes, to the top of the site data symbol.

Q: Regarding the symbol for fish captured: What symbol and f-code is used for this? Where is the symbol to be located, i.e., at the bottom of the site?

A: Use the site data symbol. Locate in the downstream end of the zone sampled.

Fish Distribution

Q: Are the limits of distribution symbols to be used only for what we have caught and observed (based on the definition given in the glossary, Appendix 4) for the Inventory Map? Appendix 3 states that fish distribution is to be mapped on the Summary Map and should include historical information. Is distribution to be shown on the Inventory Map?

A. These symbols should NOT be used on the Project Map to display the results of newly collected information. They can be added as an optional layer to indicate historical information BUT ONLY when they are indicating known fish distributions, NOT extrapolated limits.

Q: How does what we extrapolate regarding fish distribution for unsampled reaches get mapped? Is this only shown by the stream classification (red/blue, solid/dashed)?

A: Extrapolated information should be added to the Interpretive Map. When fish species are indicated on the Reach Classification Symbol, with no sample site present, it will be assumed that these are inferred or extrapolated.

Q: A stream has four reaches, of which reaches two and three were randomly selected to be sampled. Fish were caught in reach two but not in reach three. The gradient in reach 3 was <20%. Habitat appeared suitable for trout, and no barriers were found. Based on this information, reach one to reach three would be considered fish bearing. Is the distribution symbol put to reach two only (observed distribution) with reach three coloured dashed red (denoting reach classified as fish bearing based on gradient) or is the distribution symbol put to reach three with reach three coloured dashed red?

A: In this case, for fish species information along the top of the Reach Classification symbol for Reach 3, "NFC" (no fish caught) would be used followed by a dash followed by a list of the species you suspect are present. We have abandoned the use of red/blue solid/dashed as being mandatory for this year as many contractors are unable to use this method. However, it still remains optional.


Q: Is the spawning symbol only used if spawning was observed in the field? How is historical spawning information (FISS) distinguished from field observed spawning?

A: The new fish spawning data should be noted on the Data Cards only and not on the maps. The spawning symbols are used for historical observations.

Feature codes and symbols

Q: Why are there two different f-codes for reach breaks?

A: One is for reach breaks, the other is intended for sub-reaches.

Q: There is no f-code for "x" feature. How can we request one?

A: New symbols and f-codes are in the process of being developed. Check frequently to see if ones you require are available. If they are not available, send us an e-mail at our Contact Us page.

Q: Is there a symbol for BG general crossing (cattle crossing or trail crossing a stream)?

A: A general bridge crossing symbol and a generic-crossing symbol now exists.

Q. Is there a feature for TRIM streams that, in reality, are not streams? Many TRIM drainages are simply gullies that have no water and never will have. We have been calling them "undefined" channels, but perhaps "not a stream" would be more to the point?

A: A stream, according to the FPC, includes intermittent channels. The problem is trying to distinguish ephemeral from intermittent channels. Previous weather conditions and time of your field visit affect the assessment.

Producing maps with "not a stream" may have significant consequences. For example, there have been reported cases of "no visible channel," while sub-surface fish have been recorded. It is recommended that the Site Card and FDIS be used to record cases where "no visible channel" occurs and to use the TRIM anomaly mapping symbol to identify these "not a stream" areas on maps.

Mapping Specifics

Q: Do the colours stated in the Mapping Standards manual (e.g., black for aquatic features, brown for TRIM contours) have to be used? Can we use different colours? If streams and wetlands are both black lines, it will be hard to distinguish between them. Roads on our map files are brown and contours, gray.

A: colours for roads, contours, etc., are not critical, but we would like to standardize on blue for streams (and portions) within the project area and black outside the area. We have been trying green for wetlands.

Q: We have many lakes that are five ha or smaller. It is very crowded on 1:20K maps if we put on all the sample site NIDs, photograph NIDs and the EMS location. If we have the UTM for these locations, are NIDs required?

A: The detailed lake information (photo sites, EMS sites) does not have to go on the project maps. These are, however, required on other lake survey deliverables (e.g., annotated air photos, lake outline maps, etc.). For lake sample sites on the project maps, you can either choose one sample site that was representative, or just use the lake summary symbol tagged to the outlet of the lake (or other spot if no outlet). NIDs are NOT required on the final maps providing accurate (from digitizing) UTMs have been captured.

Q: How is TRIM discontinuity, New streams and Streams on TRIM maps that do not exist in the field mapped?

A: For TRIM discontinuity or errors on the map (e.g., stream flowing into the wrong area), use the TRIM anomaly symbol. For new streams, use the TRIB symbol. Do not map the stream on the maps provided to the Ministry but you may map them on a separate layer for your purposes or to provide to the TRIM staff in future. For TRIM streams not present in the field, use the TRIM anomaly symbol with NVC beside it.

Q: How do we proceed with the annotation of our georeferenced data for the watersheds? How do we acquire the appropriate 1:20000 digital map base.

A: The process to acquire the digital maps varies, depending on your situation. Most contractors acquire them from the licensee they are dealing with. Also contact the Regional Inventory Specialist for some ideas. You will have to provide the tables/formats identified in the mapping standards appendix if you are doing the standard contract.

Q: Is there anything in the mapping standards that indicates what the protocol is for solid and dashed, red and blue stream linework as an indicator of inferred and confirmed fish absence or presence. Is this just a contractor/contract specific thing or is there a reference in any of the standards?

A: The only "standards" are identified in the Fish-stream ID Guidebook - otherwise it's contractor specific.

Digital Mapping specifications

Q: The Mapping Standards manual states that Point Features will be located in UTM NAD 83. If we have been using NAD 27, does the conversion need to be done before UTMs for features, NID, etc., are taken?

A: Yes, the conversion needs to be done before UTMs for features, NID, etc., are taken.

Q: Will there be example maps made available?

A: Yes, they are available on the Web site.