Foreshore Inventory Mapping in the Columbia Basin

Foreshore Integrated Management Planning (FIMP — also known as Sensitive Habitat Inventory Mapping or SHIM) is a methodology developed in partnership with Fisheries and Ocean Canada in 2004. It maps shoreline habitats, assesses habitat value and establishes Shoreline Development Guidelines to conserve ecosystems, support climate resiliency and protect species of conservation concern

Latest Updates

  • Please note: FIMP is the new name given to this project to reflect the methodology. The project was formerly known as “Foreshore Inventory Mapping” (FIM) which is actually a sub-component of the overarching FIMP methodology).

Current Project

FIMP for Aquatic Species at Risk in the Columbia Basin

Living Lakes Canada recently entered a four-year Contribution Agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and their Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk Program. 

The overarching goal of this new LLC Project is to improve the quality and quantity of information about lake foreshore habitat integrity and species at risk in the Upper Columbia Basin. The Project will review and revise the FIMP methodology and map (or re-map) 6-8 lakes in the Columbia Basin to assess the rate of change in ecological and urban development parameters. Information collected over the coming years will be shared with government, First Nations, consultants, developers, and other stakeholders to support evidence-based, land-use decision making.

Living Lakes Canada also gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program for its contribution to the Foreshore Integrated Management Planning Program.


Candidate Lakes

A list of Candidate Lakes was created based on the geographic location of a lake, stakeholder interest, and professional judgement and experience of the LLC FIMP Project Team. Professional judgement includes the use of information obtained during the FIMP Technical Workshops (held in early 2020) and past discussions between FIMP Project Team members and government representatives, qualified environmental professionals (QEPs) and other stakeholders.

The Candidate Lake list is a carefully curated list of potential lakes that were assessed and prioritized according to key criteria.



Foreshore Integrated Management Planning projects rely heavily on a suite of biological methods that were developed in partnership with Fisheries and Ocean Canada in 2004. These methods were designed to map shoreline habitats, assesses habitat value and establishes Foreshore Development Guidelines (FDG) to conserve ecosystems, support climate resiliency, and protect species of conservation concern. The FIMP methodology has been overhauled (as of March 31, 2020) and is explained in detail in Schleppe et al. (2020). The methodology has three main components:

  • Foreshore Inventory and Mapping (FIM) is a biological methodology developed by consulting biologists in partnership with DFO. The FIM methodology was derived by adapting an existing stream mapping protocol, called Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping (SHIM), for use on lakes. As the name implies, FIM is used to delineate, inventory, and map lake foreshore habitats.
  • Foreshore Habitat Sensitivity Index (FHSI) is a quantitative analysis that relies on simple mathematics to help account for, and then reduce multiple biological variables into an intuitive, easy to interpret index. The index consists of five Ecological Ranks (e.g., Very Low, Low, Medium, High, and Very High) that describe the existing habitat value and sensitivity to urban development activities.
  • Foreshore Development Guidelines (FDG) is a report that summarizes the technical analysis (i.e., the FHSI) and recommends development guidelines to help protect high-value and sensitive habitats located along the lake foreshore.

More Background

FIM has been applied to 13 lakes across the Columbia Basin since 2006:

  • Lake Windermere
  • Columbia Lake
  • Wasa Lake
  • Moyie Lake
  • Monroe Lake
  • Jimsmith Lake
  • Tie Lake
  • Rosen Lake
  • St Mary Lake
  • Lake Koocanusa (transboundary reservoir)
  • Kootenay Lake
  • Slocan Lake
  • Brilliant Headpond

Notably, Kootenay Lake is the first project that has incorporated archaeological and Ktunaxa Nation cultural values within its Shoreline Guidance Document, setting a precedent to meaningfully recognize and protect Indigenous values in the area. Out of this project, the Kootenay Lake Partnership (KLP) was formed in 2010 as a multi-agency initiative to support management approaches for a productive and healthy Kootenay Lake ecosystem.

Throughout the past 13 years, Living Lakes Canada has chaired both the Kootenay Lake Partnership and the East Kootenay Integrated Lake Management Partnership. You can access the lake reports for all the above-listed lakes on both these websites. 

Living Lakes Canada has also expanded FIMP work beyond British Columbia, leading projects for Lac la Biche in Alberta and the South Basin of Lake Winnipeg.

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