Forests, Lands, and NR Operations

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Research and information needs assessment to support sustainable watershed management in the Thompson-Okanagan Natural Resource Region, British Columbia

Author(s) or contact(s): R. Scherer, T. Redding, K. Ronneseth, and D. Wilford
Source: Forests, Lands, and NR Operations
Subject: Hydrology, Knowledge Gaps, Watershed Management
Series: Technical Report
Other details:  Published 2016. Hardcopy is available.


Watershed management issues are among the many challenges facing natural resource managers in British Columbia. The B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands
and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) conducted a research and information needs assessment survey to help identify specific knowledge gaps and develop strategic priorities for research to support sustainable water resource management in the Thompson-Okanagan Natural Resource Region of British Columbia. In total, 137 individuals who were familiar with surface water and/or groundwater issues in this region completed all or portions of the survey and identified priority topics for research, monitoring, data collection and policy development. The survey was conducted from October 15 to December 31, 2015. This report is the second in a series of regional assessments that are being conducted across British Columbia. The first regional assessment was completed in northeastern British Columbia (Lapp et al. 2015).

Survey respondents most frequently identified the following priority research and management information needs:

  • surface water quantity research on peak flow magnitude and timing; snow accumulation and melt rates; and low-flow magnitude and timing;
  • understanding and management of cumulative effects and land use effects on all aspects of surface water, groundwater, aquatic ecosystems, and natural resource development hazards;
  • climate change effects on all aspects of water resources and aquatic ecology;
  • groundwater quantity research on surface water-groundwater interactions, and aquifer identification and characterization to quantify the availability and extent of groundwater resources;
  • water budgets to improve understanding of water availability/withdrawals to ensure sustainable allocation of both surface water and groundwater;
  • environmental flow needs for fish-bearing streams, temperature-sensitive streams, and land use activities in riparian areas; and
  • natural disturbance effects, and forest management and other land use effects on riparian areas, stream flows, and water quality.
More than 70% of the respondents identified the need for increased monitoring of streamflow (hydrometric monitoring), groundwater (observation wells),
and climate data to better characterize and identify surface water and groundwater quantity and quality and support sustainable allocation decisions.
Priority data needs included online access to data, hydrometric monitoring data, online access to analysis results/products, snow survey data, and online analysis tools.

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Updated June 06, 2016