Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y073115

    Snow, Road, Soil moisture, and Harvest Distribution Effects on Streamflow and Water Quality at Upper Penticton Creek
Project lead: Winkler, Rita
Contributing Authors: Winkler, Rita D.; Alila, Younes; Giles, Tim R.; Heise, Brian A.; Hope, Graeme D.; Spittlehouse, David L.; Moore, R. Dan
Imprint: [BC] : BC Ministry of Forests, 2007
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Water Quality, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
The Upper Penticton Creek (UPCr) Watershed Experiment is a long-term, process-based, paired-watershed experiment, located approximately 26 km northeast of Penticton BC. This experiment was initiated in response to growing concern over the quantity and quality of water supplies in the Okanagan. It is the only experiment of its kind in the interior of BC, with both pre and post-disturbance data in treated and control basins, and only one of eight paired-watershed experiments in Canada. Data collection began in 1984 with streamflow and summer weather measurements. Today, research is supported by a network of weather stations, snow survey sites, streamflow measurements, water quality and aquatic habitat monitoring, channel surveys, and hydrologic modelling. Soils and vegetation communities have been mapped, aquatic organisms surveyed, forest inventories have been completed, and numerous stand scale experiments are underway. Ten years of data were collected prior to any forest development and core monitoring has continued since 1995 as logging has progressed. The 240 Cr. watershed remains an unlogged control, and 30% and 50% of the area in the 241 and Dennis Cr. watersheds have been clearcut, respectively. Past research and environmental measurements provide the foundation for continued investigations for forest harvesting effects at the watershed scale and of specific hydrologic processes at smaller scales. The project team, research, facilities, and database now provide an opportunity to undertake complex, inter-disciplinary investigations, develop and improve operational planning tools, guidelines, and indicators of sustainability. Additional information regarding the UPCr Watershed Experiment can be found at: The long-term objectives of the UPCr Watershed Experiment are to: • advance our understanding of hydrologic processes; • quantify the effects of logging and forest re-growth on streamflow, water quality, channel stability, and aquatic habitat; and • develop operational tools and guidelines that improve our ability to sustain both the timber and water resources of the BC interior plateau. The specific objectives for 2004/07 (this LOI is for year two of these three-year projects) are to: • determine the spatial distribution and relative contributions of snow over the 240/241 Cr. watersheds to the hydrographs of these streams, • compare water balances at four forested, two regenerating clearcuts, and three recent clearcut sites in the 240/241 Cr. watersheds, • investigate road effects on flow routing and the hydrographs of 240/241/Dennis Cr., • determine the effects of harvesting on soil and stream nitrogen fluxes, • measure changes in stream temperature with elevation and forest cover in 240/241/Dennis Cr., • develop turbidity – suspended sediment relationships in 240/241 Cr. to improve ongoing monitoring efficiency and reduce future analysis costs, and • to extend the results of completed (or near complete) research and provide operational interpretations. The UPCr. experiment best fits the Sustainability Program recommended research category 1.6, Watershed function. Research at UPCr. addresses the effect of forestry on hydrologic processes particularly category 1.6, items 5 and 6, cumulative effects and watershed response to increasing rates of cut. New work focuses on hydrologic change associated with extensive beetle salvage in the Dennis Cr. subbasin, item 7. The results of this research are interpreted for operational application through the development and improvement of practices guidelines, monitoring criteria, and indicators of sustainability, such as rate of cut guidelines, indicators of hydrologic (snow) recovery, indicators of stream 'health’, and modelling tools addressing research categories 3.1 and 3.2.
Related projects:  FSP_Y051115FSP_Y062115


Hydrol. Process. 20(17):3683-3695
Executive Summary (31Kb)
Extension Note RSI_EN06

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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