In the future snowmelt dominated watersheds of the interior of British Columbia are expected to see shifts in runoff where periods of snow accumulation are reduced and peak flows start earlier in the spring. Furthermore, increasing thermal regimes are also expected in tributary and headwater systems. The biological implications of such climate-induced changes are significant given their fundamental linkages to behavioural and physiological responses of life stages of freshwater dependent fish species, such as trout and salmon.

Through this study, the vulnerability of freshwater ecosystems was quantitatively assessed by coupling a series of mathematical and GIS models that linked projected changes in climate variables (predictions of air temperature and precipitation) to stream conditions (water flow and temperature) to potential changes in fish communities and fish habitats. The results from this exercise were then presented to a technical working group and a group of local stakeholders to identify linkages to regional decision making processes and identify potential adaptation strategies within the natural resource sector.