Conditions were generally good going into freeze-up, except in the Peace where they were above average due to a long stretch of good precipitation and soil moisture. The fall flight was also average for most areas of the province.
Winter has been drier than normal this year. This, coupled with milder temperatures, has led to a poor snowpack on the south coast and on Vancouver Island. It is still too early to predict spring conditions because more accumulation is likely to occur over the next few months. Local wetlands and coastal estuaries are in good shape, and are supporting large flocks of waterfowl. Around the Fraser River Delta and east coast of Vancouver Island, many waterfowl (e.g., snow geese, trumpeter swans, mallards and American wigeons) are feeding in farm fields and winter cover crops.
In the northern Interior, the snowpack is above normal — significantly so in some areas — and prospects are good for the spring runoff.
Winter precipitation has been variable so far in the southern Interior. Conditions were drier than normal in October and December, and wetter than normal in November. However, there hasn't been fresh snow for a few weeks, and mild January weather has melted much snow at southern latitudes. Habitat quality is declining, but prospects are still good for the spring runoff if precipitation returns to normal again.
In the southeast Interior, snow packs are slightly below normal. The spring runoff should be good.
Despite a recent decline in precipitation and above-normal temperatures, the majority of the Peace region (and Fort Nelson) has had over 200 per cent of its usual precipitation since November 1. The warm temperatures have caused the snow to settle and melt, resulting in water pooling on the ice of many wetlands and lakes.
Significant snow cover remains — in the order of 18 inches or so of hard, icy snow — and some Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) projects are likely already topped up to full supply level with the mild weather. For example, the Swan Lake project is flowing about 2-3 inches over the stop logs at its weir. Prospects are very good for the spring runoff, and may be excessive, depending upon spring temperatures and speed of melt.