Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol (OSAP)

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) regrettably announces the cancellation of the 2021 Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol (OSAP) course to proactively protect participants from the potential risk of contracting COVID-19.

The five-day Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol (OSAP) course is designed to train and certify users in a variety of standardized stream assessment techniques for evaluating habitat, benthos, and fish communities in Ontario’s wadeable streams.

environmental professionals participate in Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol course

Course Description

The methods taught are documented in the OSAP Manual and are provincially recognized as standards by the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry and federally recognized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Like the modular OSAP manual, the training is organized into the following complementary units:

  • Identifying and documenting site locations
  • Benthos sampling
  • Temperature sampling
  • Fish community sampling, including Class 2 backpack electrofishing certification
  • Characterizing physical processes and in-stream structure
  • Data management

Introductory (i.e. Level 1) benthos identification (OBBN) and Level 1 and Level 2 fish identification courses are offered concurrently on the weekend preceding the OSAP course.

When Is It Offered?

The next course will be offered in Spring 2022 in Oshawa, Ontario. If you would like to be added to the waiting list for 2022, please fill out the form below:

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Who Should Attend?

This course is intended for field crews and resource managers involved in stream surveys and management. Registration preference will be given to professionals in the field who have need of using the OSAP protocol in the calendar year the course is offered.

Please be advised that registration usually fills up quickly.

environmental professionals take part in Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol course

Learning Objectives

This is an intensive, hands-on course, combining classroom, laboratory and field sessions, with an emphasis on quality assurance.

Most units will consist of a morning lecture, travel to a stream, demonstration of techniques, supervised application of one or more modules, data entry and verification, debriefing, and testing. Students should be prepared for some evening work.

The training units will provide participants with knowledge of:

  • Reading a river and selecting site boundaries
  • Conducting fisheries and temperature surveys
  • A number of modules that characterize physical habitat and geomorphology

Included in the course is an opportunity to test for the Class 2 Backpack Electrofishing Certification.

Instruction for the courses is provided through a partnership between the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).


Participants will receive a certificate to verify the completion of their training.

Reference Materials


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OSAP Course Manual (Version 10)
The Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol (OSAP) contains a series of standardized methodologies for identifying sites and evaluating benthos, fish communities, physical habitat and water temperatures in wadeable streams. The OSAP provides standard methodologies that allow data to be shared, used for multiple purposes and stored in a common database.

OSAP Compendium Manual: Guidelines for Designing and Interpreting Stream Surveys in Ontario (Ver. 1.1. 2003)
The materials provided in this manual are intended to compliment the procedures described in the Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol by providing advice on study design and interpretation of results.

Flowing Waters Information System
The Flowing Waters Information System (FWIS) helps Ontario’s conservation practitioners to manage information on flowing waters or streams, including data about fisheries, benthos, habitat and more. View the Introduction to the Flowing Waters Information System video.

(Updated to enable digital input)