Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y073328

    Testing the H60 concept in the Interior Watershed Assessment Procedure by process hydrology studies
Project lead: Scott, David
Contributing Authors: Scot, Dave; Giest, Kelli; Forsyth, Kristen; Giles, Tim R.; Gluns, David R.; Jordan, Peter; Scherer, Rob
Imprint: Kelowna, B.C. : University of British Columbia Okanagan, 2007
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Watershed management, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
Strategic Fit: Sustainability: Scientific information to inform policy, regulations and Forest and Range Practices Act requirements. Sustainability PAC research topic 1.6 Watershed function The H60 is a concept used in the Interior Watershed Assessment Procedure (IWAP) by which the upper altitudinal zone within a watershed is weighted for its assumed contribution to peak flows. The approach assumes that there is a very direct and immediate link between snowmelt and surface flow, there being little lag in delivery of water from the snowpack to the stream. This project uses tracers and water chemistry to test the H60 concept by determining the zone in the watershed that makes the dominant contribution to the water in the peak flows. The key uncertainty being studied is the lag between snowmelt and water entering the stream channel. The snowpack is marked with selected chemical tracers that are (i) detectable in very small quantities and (ii) move conservatively through the soil (i.e. are not adsorbed onto soil particles but move through inertly with the snowmelt water). Streamwater will be sampled continuously during the snowmelt season in order to determine the time at which water from particular locations in the catchment actually contributes to the peak flow hydrograph. By this means a picture will be built up of the travel times of water in the watersheds and the contributions of different zones and altitudinal belts to the important peak flows. In the second year, the tracers that have been tested and proven in the first year of the project, deuterium and chloride, will be used in larger catchments, with a larger elevational range, to measure the residence times of snowpack water at different elevations, and the co-incidence of snowmelt relative to peak discharge. In addition, studies with tracers will be refined in small catchments to expand on our findings on flow paths and flow rates of snow-melt water in headwater catchments.
Related projects:  FSP_Y051328FSP_Y062328


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Updated August 16, 2010 

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