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Executive Summary

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The Stikine River is located in northwest British Columbia, flowing westward to Alaska and the Pacific Ocean. Activities occurring in the Stikine watershed include mining and forestry.

This report assesses water quality data collected at the monitoring station upstream from the confluence with the Iskut River. Water quality samples were collected between 1981 and 1994 by Environment Canada. Flow was measured at a Water Survey of Canada flow gauge located 58 km southwest of Telegraph Creek and about 70 km upstream from the water quality station.

We concluded that:
· There were no environmentally significant trends in water quality.
· Peak non-filterable residue and turbidity values occurred during peak flow periods.
· High metals and non-filterable residue occurred together in samples collected over the period of record. This would indicate that the metals were in a particulate form, probably not biologically available and would be removed by drinking water treatment needed to remove turbidity.
· Total aluminum, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, nickel and zinc, organic carbon, apparent colour, non-filterable residue and turbidity values did not meet various water quality criteria at times due to high levels of suspended sediment carried by high river flow.
· Copper levels exceeded the aquatic life criteria most of the time, suggesting a naturally high copper mineralization in the watershed.
· Turbidity removal and disinfection would be needed prior to drinking.
· The river had a low sensitivity to acid inputs.
· The river was cool enough for drinking, but too cold for water-contact recreation.
· Hardness levels were generally below the optimum range for drinking water in the summer and at or above the optimum range in the winter, but were still quite acceptable for drinking.

We recommend that monitoring be discontinued for the Stikine River above Choquette River because:
· There were no obvious or deleterious trends observed in the plotted data over the 1981 to 1994 sampling period.
· There are no water quality concerns at the present time.
· We now have an adequate baseline of data for comparison to future data.

Stikine River above Choquette

Figure 1 Map of Stikine River (Scale 1:2,100,000)

Authors

Jang, L. Water Quality Section, Water Management Branch, Ministry
of Environment, Lands and Parks, Victoria, B.C.

Webber, T. Water Quality Section, Water Management Branch, Ministry
of Environment, Lands and Parks, Victoria, B.C.

Contributors

Holms, G.B. Water Quality Section, Water Management Branch, Ministry
of Environment, Lands and Parks, Victoria, B.C.

Pommen, L.W. Water Quality Section, Water Management Branch, Ministry
of Environment, Lands and Parks, Victoria, B.C.

Regnier, R. Monitoring Strategies Division, Monitoring and Systems Branch,
Pacific and Yukon Region, Environment Canada, Vancouver, B.C.

Ross, P.R. Environmental Protection, Skeena Region,
Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Smithers, B.C.

Ryan, A. Monitoring Support Division, Monitoring and Systems Branch,
Pacific and Yukon Region, Environment Canada, Vancouver, B.C.

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