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Environmental Flows Program

This program assesses water flow in freshwater ecosystems as part of provincial river and stream conservation efforts.


Environmental flows, also known as instream flows, or instream flow needs, describes the quantity, timing and quality of water flow required to sustain freshwater ecosystems and the human livelihoods and well-being that depend on these ecosystems.

The Environmental Flows Program helps protect healthy water flow by:

  • providing policy recommendations
  • conducting environmental flow studies
  • researching aquatic and riparian habitat
  • reviewing water licence applications
  • working with other agencies and Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) to set flow and water standards that support healthy fish and wildlife populations

To accomplish these goals, our team:

  • provides departmental coordination and scientific expertise
  • carries out data collection
  • analyses data
  • supports water management studies as needed to comply with provincial and federal laws


The team works with:

  • other provincial departments
  • the federal government
  • local stakeholders including WPACs throughout the province and universities

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