banner MPWA Home Page MPWA Home Page


Data Gaps and Unknowns

As the first state of the watershed report for the Mighty Peace watershed, substantial information gaps were inevitable. The list of information gaps provides a solid foundation on which to base future updates of the report. Critical information gaps that greatly hinder informed water and watershed management planning include:

The absence of a full accounting of water quantity due to the lack of comprehensive information on groundwater resources. This is particularly important as there is evidence that certain freshwater aquifers are currently under stress. Groundwater allocations are presented in the report, but this information has little value without knowing how much water is available as a comparison.

An accounting of wetland loss for the entire watershed and hotspots of highest loss. Wetlands are part of the identity of the watershed. They are pervasive and extensive features on the landscape that perform many critical ecosystem services including water filtration, flood management, groundwater recharge and habitat for biodiversity. This information is critical for assigning priorities and generally managing wetland resources in the watershed.

A near-absence of information on invasive species. Invasive plants in riparian areas do not appear to be a problem, but little information is available on invasive wildlife or other areas.

Aquifer vulnerability mapping has been completed for the "White Zone" of the watershed. This type of mapping is extremely valuable in identifying critical areas for shallow groundwater protection and should be expanded to the rest of the watershed.

Other Data Gaps and Sources of Uncertainty

Surface Water Quality

Small and medium-sized river and stream water quality
Diurnal datasets for major rivers, except Wapiti River
Long-term trends in water quality
Instream flow needs
Lake beach bacteria monitoring
Synoptic river surveys
Estimates of natural water quality in impacted areas
Seasonal water quality objectives
Site-specific water quality objectives
Nutrient guidelines


Extent and locations of wetland loss
Wetland health and function

Riparian Health

Better coverage of individual riparian health assessments
Lake riparian health

Invasive Species

Terrestrial invasive species in riparian areas
Freshwater diatom algae Didymo (Didymosphenia geminata)
Invasive species in wetlands


Population status of species that lack good data (Goldeye, Northern Pikeminnow, and Flathead Chub)
Population status for many fish in the Lower Peace, Central Peace (portions) and Wabasca sub-basins
Stressor-Response relationships/thresholds of fish populations with
  • Cumulative human impacts
  • River regulation
  • Instream-flow needs for habitat
Standard survey techniques for data inclusion to the Fish Sustainability Index
Differentiate habitat use (resident vs. migrant populations, spawning, rearing, overwintering)
Quantify fish barriers
Review fish contaminants

Surface Water

Overland flow and drainage patterns on a sub-catchment basin scale
Lake Water Levels: Number of lakes in monitoring program and frequency of sampling have been drastically reduced
Other than the Peace River, flow trends of major tributaries correlated with basin yield, climate and allocation data are not available


Potential/Actual Evapotranspiration for the majority of eastern basins


Baseline groundwater chemistry studies are limited; most of the studies were carried out in the 1960s and 1970s
Existing numerical models of the basins in the watershed were not available for this study
Aquifer response to hydrological events is not well understood and hydrographs are limited
Surface/groundwater interactions are not well understood. Only aquifers with high risk of surface contaminations are identified for a limited area
Regional groundwater monitoring programs are limited. Southern Smoky/Wapiti basin around Grande Cache is noticeably lacking observation and monitoring wells
Groundwater monitoring reports from industrial and commercial facilities are mostly unavailable to the public
There have not been any comprehensive studies looking at the results of groundwater monitoring report