Watershed Assessment Procedure to address cumulative effects in the eastern slopes natural region

The Eastern Slopes is the origin of much of the water in the Oldman, Bow, and South Saskatchewan rivers. This project will develope a template for assessment, using dominant watershed processes. This project will develop a tool for assessing how watersheds in the eastern slopes are affected by disturbance.

The Eastern Slopes is the origin of much of the water for important rivers such as the Oldman, Bow, and South Saskatchewan. Many of these lands are public forest lands with multiple uses, natural disturbance processes and climate change.

Developing tools to address cumulative watershed effects in forested areas is a major theme for the fRI Research Water Program.  We approached this by developing a template for assessment and examples in the Eastern Slopes.  Our procedures divides watershed processes categories of dominant watershed processes:

  1. Riparian,
  2. Sediment and erosion, and
  3. Flow regime.

Using these categories of watershed processes we are developing risk-based assessment approaches for:

  • Level 1: office and reconnaissance-based
  • Level 2: field-based detail

In 2011, we organized synthesis documents on cumulative effects assessment procedures for the background of Watershed Assessments to be developed through the fRI Research Water Program.

In 2012, Rich McCleary was contracted to develop a Level 1 assessment procedure and example in the headwaters of the Oldman River Basin.  Many other people and organizations contributed to the development initial procedure.

In 2013, Mike Wagner was hired by the Government of Alberta to refine and implement the Level 1 assessment procedures and provide input into the development of Level 2 procedures.

Refined Level 1 procedure coming soon.

Level 2 priorities are:

  • Hydrology: exploring modelling platforms to assess effects of forest change.
  • Sedimentation: Exploring the use of GRIAP in SW Alberta.

Publications and deliverables related to this project include the following:

The deliverables of the project also included testing of NetMap GIS tools for Assessments in the Eastern Slopes.

April 1 2012
Project Begins

Rich McCleary begins developing a level 1 assessment procedure.

Testing Begins

The level 1 procedure will be tested in the Oldman headwaters.

Testing Continues

A test sites are identified and stakeholders engaged to carry out test-case.

NetMaP Workshop

Held webinar and workshops with stakeholders to demo the Oldman NetMap product.

Summaries and Communications | Posters
Poster outlining the watershed assessment procedure created for Alberta's eastern slopes
A Cumulative Watershed Effects Assessment Template for the Eastern Slopes: The Geomorphic and Riparian Components with a Case Study of Todd Creek Watershed
Scientific Publications | Reports
Template to guide cumulative watershed effects assessments within Alberta's Eastern slopes
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Axel Anderson
Axel Anderson