McGee Creek: Proper Functioning Condition Assessment
A Proper Functioning Condition assessment (PFC) was conducted on McGee Creek in the Shawnigan Lake Watershed to determine the condition of the riparian-wetland areas. This qualitative, yet science-based process considers both abiotic and biotic factors as they relate to physical function. It facilitates communication about the condition of a riparian-wetland area and focuses attention on the physical processes before considering values. A standard checklist is used to ensure consistency in reporting the condition of riparian-wetland areas.
The McGee Creek Proper Functioning Condition Assessment and Mapping Project is intended as the first phase of a multi-phase project to assess the entire Shawnigan Lake Watershed. This will be undertaken over several years, as funding permits. The purpose of this assessment is to provide citizens, local government, and regulatory agencies with a baseline assessment of watershed condition, to support sound land use decisions that protect watershed function.
This report contains the assessment information from the mainstem of McGee Creek and eight of its major tributaries. The McGee Creek watershed has been divided into 57 hydrologic reaches, 45 stream (lotic) reaches and 12 pond/wetland (lentic) reaches. Of the approximately 15.1 km of stream channel assessed, 9.9 km were in Proper Functioning Condition, 0.2 km rated Functional - At Risk with an upward trend, 3.0 km rated Functional - At Risk with no apparent trend, 0.4 km Functional-At Risk with a downward trend and 1.5 km rated Nonfunctional. The 12 pond/wetland reaches covered a combined area of approximately 0.120 km2 with 0.109 km2 (9 reaches) in Proper Functioning Condition and 0.0104 km2 (3 reaches) rated Functional - At Risk with no apparent trend. The headwaters of the system are spring-fed, which has created a myriad of wetlands interspersed with short, steep reaches. These wetlands provide significant water storage and filtration and are essential to dissipating hydrologic energy and protecting the connecting stream channels from erosive forces. The capacity of this watershed to withstand significant hydrologic events, in general, has been significantly reduced by the historic logging of the very large cedar and fir trees that once dominated the watershed and provided the structure that protected its many small streams.
Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting Ltd. 2014. Shawnigan Lake Watershed: McGee Creek Proper Functioning Condition Assessment. 457 pp. (155 pp. + 7 Appendices)