Research projects - active

Stream temperature dynamics

Stream thermal regime is a critical control on fluvial habitat and aquatic ecology, and can be influenced by flow regulation and changes in land use/land cover and climatic variability and change. Current research is focused on the following topics:

  • developing a generalized wind function model for predicting stream evaporation
  • studying thermal processes in steep mountain streams under unsteady flow conditions
  • developing a coupled hydrology-temperature model for catchment-scale simulation
  • process-based analysis of temperature sensitivity to climate and land-cover change and flow regulation

Proglacial and post-glacial landscapes in western North America

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. My research on this topic involves (a) empirical analysis of hydroclimatic data, (b) computer simulation, and (c) field-based research. Field research is focusing on Place and Bridge glaciers, as well as other sites in western North America, and particularly 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.

Effects of forest disturbance on streamflow and fish habitat

There has been long-standing concern about the effects of forest harvesting and natural disturbance on streamflow and fish habitat. Current projects include the following:

  • model-based change detection for application to medium-size catchments with no control
  • stream temperature response to forest harvesting with alternative riparian treatments
  • effects of forest harvesting on summer low flows and fish habitat availability

Burns Bog hydrology

Burns Bog is a 3000-ha raised bog located south of Fraser River, a large portion of which is currently managed as a regional park. As part of ongoing efforts to restore past impacts, we are conducting field research on the hydrology of the bog, with the ultimate goal of developing a process-based distributed model.

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, albeit slowly.