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Sinking and Losing Streams

Management Objectives

Scenario: No. 1

Scenario: No. 2

Scenario: No. 3

Managing Karst Watercourses

This lesson will concentrate on the management of sinking/losing streams and sinking watercourses. But before moving on, you should understand how “stream” is defined, and how this definition relates to karst watercourses.

What is a stream?

Since 1995, the British Columbia government has defined a “stream” as a watercourse with a continuous channel of more than 100 metres in length that exhibits evidence of scouring or alluvial deposition.

Are all karst water systems streams?

While this definition can be applied to many of the surface streams flowing on karst terrain, some important watercourses that sink into the subsurface have the potential to be interpreted as non-classified drainages because they do not meet all the requirements of the definition for a stream. For example, stream segments that fail to meet the 100-metre distance criteria. However, even though these types of watercourses do not meet the definition for a stream, they should still be recognized and managed appropriately in cases where they flow into significant recipient karst features. To account for this situation, and to avoid confusion with the accepted definition for a stream, watercourses of this type are referred to as “sinking watercourses.”

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