Research projects - active

Hydrology and stream thermal regime in the rain-on-snow zone

Streamflow and thermal regime are critical controls on fluvial habitat and aquatic ecology. Both flow and thermal regime can be influenced by changes in land use/land cover and climatic variability and change. Field research is particularly focused on sites at the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest (MKRF), much of which lies in the rain-on-snow zone. Current research is focusing on (a) snowpack dynamics and runoff generation and their response to the interactions between climatic variability and forest management, and (b) winter stream thermal regime and its ecological consequences.

Proglacial and post-glacial landscapes, southern Coast Mountains

Glaciers throughout western North America have been retreating over the last century, with especially marked shrinkage during the last two to three decades. As glaciers retreat, they are exposing new landscapes, including lakes and streams. The shrinkage of glaciers, in combination with the dynamics and evolution of newly exposed landscapes, will have profound influences on the hydrology and habitat characteristics of downstream aquatic systems. Field research is focusing on Place and Bridge glaciers, as well as other sites in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia. This work is a continuation of research begun as part of the Western Canadian Cryospheric Network (WC2N), which was funded by the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science.

Research projects - inactive or winding down

Fishtrap Creek Watershed Study

In August 2003, the McLure Fire burned through several watersheds north of Kamloops, including Fishtrap Creek. High fuel loads, dry initial conditions, and strong winds resulted in an extremely high intensity fire that was difficult to contain. The burn of Fishtrap Creek Watershed was extensive, affecting 70% of the catchment and killing almost all of the trees in the riparian area. Since the fire, substantial salvage harvesting has occurred. Research is addressing how the fire has influenced hydrology, geomorphology, water quality and aquatic habitat. Much of the research was funded by the provincial Forest Investment Account via the Forest Science Program. Although intensive field work has been discontinued, numerical and physical modelling studies are being conducted to enhance our understanding of hydrogeomorphic response to the fire.

Cotton Creek Watershed Study

The Cotton Creek Watershed Study combined process based field research with physically based modelling to gain an understanding of the changes in hydrological processes under different forest management scenarios. The research watershed was instrumented to enable the study of internal processes over various spatial scales. The goal is to provide new insights into how forest disturbance (harvesting, roads, Mountain Pine Beetle) influences catchment hydrogeomorphology. Although the field program has been discontinued, we continue to work on data analysis.