Foreshore Inventory Mapping in the Columbia Basin

Foreshore Inventory Mapping (FIM — 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

FIM provides decision makers, planners, developers, landowners and government agencies with the tools required to make sustainable foreshore development and land-use decisions that take into account cumulative impacts on fish and wildlife habitats. The resulting Shoreline Management Guidelines help direct shoreline development such as docks, retaining walls and marinas in a manner that will protect the areas of highest ecological value.

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 FIM work beyond British Columbia, leading FIM projects for Lac la Biche in Alberta and the South Basin of Lake Winnipeg.

Living Lakes Canada and our partners have launched the Foreshore Inventory Mapping for Aquatic Species at Risk in the Columbia Basin project through a four-year grant from DFO’s Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk program. The project will review and revise the FIM Standards and Methods, as well as map and re-map 6-8 lakes in the Columbia Basin to assess the rate of change of shoreline health.


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