Lesson 1 - Introduction to FREP & RREE Assessments

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Introduction

This lesson introduces you to basic information about why we conduct routine riparian effectiveness evaluations in the context of FREP.   You are encouraged to evaluate your learning by completing the self-check exercises. They don’t take long and will help you review the concepts that you have worked through.


Pre-reading Assignment

To more fully understand the concepts, please go to the FREP website for more information on our mission and objectives.

Learning Objectives

This lesson covers basic background information on preparing for the FREP sampling. By working through this module you will:

  • Understand why FREP monitoring is undertaken each year
  • Review the reference materials that will assist you in REE sampling
  • Understand the concept of Properly Functioning Condition

The Forest and Range Evaluation Program (FREP) is a foundational element of the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).  Review the background and feature articles on the FREP website.

Collect and communicate trusted and scientifically robust natural resource monitoring information to inform decision making and improve resource management outcomes.

  1. Assess the impacts of forest and range activities on the 11 FRPA resource values to determine if on-the-ground results are achieving government’s desired outcomes for these values;
  2. Monitor and report on the condition of resource values, including trends and causal factors; and
  3. Identify opportunities for continued improvement of practices, policies and legislation, and support their implementation.

FREP is a science-based program, with monitoring protocols developed through broad expert input.  To date, FREP has collected over 11,000 samples and communicated results through more than 125 publications

FREP supports government’s key initiative and mandate objectives by:

  • Providing opportunities to support Indigenous reconciliation.
  • Using FREP data to inform improvements to forest practices and regulation;
  • Contributing to integrated monitoring and assessment in support of modernized land-use planning; and
  • Improving the accessibility and reliability of data to support defensible decision making.

Effectiveness evaluations are a foundational element of FRPA. The framework of FREP’s effectiveness evaluations aligns with professional reliance and resource stewardship. Science-based monitoring is used to inform decision-making, improve resource management outcomes, and provide evidence of the provincial government’s commitment to the objectives under FRPA. Although originally developed for government stewardship staff to monitor the effectiveness of forest and range practices, FREP evaluations can be used by any group wishing to evaluate land-use impacts.

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FREP works under the legislative framework of the Forest & Range Practices Act (FRPA). 

FRPA contains objectives, Forest Planning & Practices Requirements (FPPR) and a C&E component. 

All of this is based on professional reliance and Effectiveness Evaluations that are the FREP program.

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The FREP program of routine effectiveness monitoring works because of several important linkages, with the final outcome being to promote continuous improvement in the stewardship of the recognized resource values. Information from the field sampling is submitted to our Branch office where it can be summarized and rolled into reports such as the Multiple Resource Value Assessment (MRVA) Reports which are shared publicly.

how frep program works image

The RREE is supported by:

  • Protocol
  • Field Supplement
  • Checklist
  • Training
  • Continuous improvement

The RREE protocol is essentially a handbook for anyone with a basic working knowledge of streams and/or riparian habitats, including forest and range planners, developers, and other land users. It is not essential that a person have expert knowledge on any aspect of the subject. In fact, generalists are apt to be more consistent in their assessments because they are less likely to interpret the questions and their indicators or get overly involved in detailed measurements at the expense of other indicators.

The RREE protocol and the associated checklist guides the user to a conclusion on the relative health of a stream and its riparian habitat in a timely fashion. Field experience indicates that, with a little practice, riparian assessments can be completed in 1–2 hours.

The checklist encourages observation with a repeatable methodology that can be used to support the results of a field review. The methodology has been field tested by people with varied backgrounds and levels of experience and found to be a consistent method of assessing the health of streams in BC. Perhaps more importantly, the conclusions drawn from the checklist make sense and ring true because they can usually be clearly linked to specific indicators that can be consistently observed or measured.

The goal of monitoring the condition of stream channels and their adjacent riparian management areas is essentially to determine if riparian forestry and range practices are effective in maintaining the structural integrity and functions of stream ecosystems and other aquatic resource features over both short and long terms.

The routine riparian evaluation arose out of a need to assess the effectiveness of riparian management practices. The assessment process is primarily used to determine functioning condition of streams, rivers and their associated riparian areas, and whether current management practices are impeding the functioning condition. This knowledge then leads to promoting continuous improvement of the practices alongside streams and their associated riparian areas.

Monitoring applies both short term and long term focus and promotes Continuous Improvement.

 

LESSON 1:  Self-Check Questions

Answer either True or False to check your understanding.

  1. FREP’s Effectiveness Evaluations are ONLY applicable to forestry and range management activities.
  2. FREP monitoring is fundamentally a C&E initiative.
 

1.  False – FREP Effectiveness Evaluations can be adopted by any group wishing to evaluate land-use impacts

2.  False – FREP is all about monitoring and transparency; using random sampling to explore short and long-term trends.

 

Go to Lesson 2 - Training and Field Work Preparedness