The groundwater/ surface water interactions in the headwater streams and the relative importance in controlling the hydrological response to disturbance
Previous research in BC and the US found a significant impact of wildfire on streamflow. However, Ulids Silins of the University of Alberta, and researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have found a smaller effect on the timing and mangitude of peak flows in Kananaskis following forest disturbance.
One hypothesis is that the groundwater/ surfacewater interactions in the eastern slopes is the cause of this muted response to change. Specifically, if there are large amounts of groundwater influencing the hydrology, then the area will be relatively insensitive to disturbance compared to somewhere with less groundwater. This project, led by PhD student Sheena Spencer and co-supervised by Water Program Lead Axel Anderson and Uldis Silins, will put this idea to the test.
This is one part of the larger multidisciplinary Southern Rockies Watershed Project (SRWP), which is investigating the impact of different harvest treatments. It has implications for predicting the effects of disturbance in the eastern slopes.