Ecohydrological Assessment of the Upper Oldman River
Join us for a presentation by Kim Green, PhD, Researcher, highlighting her multidisciplinary investigation of the hydrologic and aquatic condition of the upper Oldman River watershed. The investigation, which Kim led through her consulting company, will be used to help guide future restoration activities.
This presentation showcases the type of work Kim is involved with and may highlight some potential opportunities for collaboration on projects with the Applied Research & Innovation Centre.
Ecohydrological Assessment Project Background:
The Oldman River watershed is critical because it supports the majority of the remaining native Westslope Cutthroat Trout (WSCT) populations on the East Slopes in Canada, with only a few other populations found in the Bow watershed. The same habitat is also occupied by the southern-most extent of the native range of Bull Trout (BLTR) on the East Slopes of the Rockies.
The overlapping distributions of these two species near the outward extent of their ranges highlights the functional conservation value of the Oldman watershed in terms of the fish habitat and water quality it provides (i.e., based on adequate flow; habitat complexity and hydrologic patterns; cold temperature; degree of connectivity between populations). Both species historically occurred throughout the entire headwaters and further east to Lethbridge. BLTR and WSCT Ranges in the watershed has now contracted by 30-95% (2019 WSCT Recovery Strategy and Action Plan; 2016 BLTR RPA), and all remaining occupied habitat provides functional value to various life stages of these species.
Millions of dollars have been spent in recent years by numerous watershed and aquatic habitat stewardship groups to protect and restore critical fish habitat in the headwaters of the Rocky Mountains. The selection of restoration sites is usually guided by localized, site-specific concerns such as channel bank instability and road-related erosion. Restoration efforts that focus on the symptoms without considering the underlying cause of the disturbance can result in a short-term fix to the problem.
Over the last several decades, the footprint of human disturbance in these headwater regions has increased exponentially. In some areas this disturbance has expanded further as a result of wildfire. The Ecohydrological assessment of the upper Oldman River watershed is intended to provide an understanding of the role that landcover impacts have on hydrological processes including the frequency/magnitude of floods, the change in timing/duration of low flows and rates of sediment transport, and, in turn, how these larger-scale impacts may be affecting aquatic ecosystems. Information from this assessment is used to prioritize restoration sites and improve restoration outcomes.
Kim has worked as a geoscientist for over 30 years throughout western North America. She graduated from the University ofBritish Columbia (UBC) in 1986 with a BSc in Geology and from the University of Calgary in 1990 with an MSc in Geoscience. In 2014, Kim completed her Doctorate where she investigated the influence of land cover change on snow melt watershed hydrological and channel response. Her research interests focus on understanding the processes controlling channel form, stability and ecosystem function of mountain streams in forested, snow melt dominated watersheds.