In British Columbia, Canada, high elevation plateau areas provide a significant proportion of the annual allowable cut. Most forest hydrology research in these environments has focused on cutblocks smaller than about 40 ha, and little research has examined the effects of larger openings. In a recent Forest Development Plan, Tolko Industries Ltd. proposed a cutblock of 300 ha in the upper part of the Boulder Creek catchment north of Kamloops, B.C., located on the Nehalliston Plateau at elevations ranging from 1,500 to 1,900 m. Given the lack of research applicable to such situations, Tolko Industries partnered with hydrologists with the University of British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, and Summit Environmental Consultants Ltd. to conduct studies on the effects of this large cutblock on snow accumulation, melt, streamflow, stream temperature and channel morphology. Three sub-basins, each covering about 200 ha, were instrumented in summer 2001 to record water level and temperature. Discharge measurements made using current metering and salt dilution will allow rating curves to be developed to generate streamflow hydrographs. These sub-basins are adjacent to each other, and are similar with respect to physiographic, geologic, and biogeoclimatic characteristics. Two fall within the area of the future 300 ha cutblock, and will each experience about 50% forest cover removal in a single pass in 2005. The third sub-basin will experience no harvesting until at least 2010 to provide an experimental control. Funding for this portion of the project provided by UBC and the work is being done by Dr. Dan Moore. Snow surveys, covering areas both within and outside the future 300 ha cutblock, have been conducted three times each spring, beginning in 2000. In each year, the first snow survey has been timed to coincide with the time of peak snow accumulation, and subsequent surveys have provided data over the rest of the melt season (ending in approximately mid-June). An automated weather station records air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, snow depth, and rainfall intensity on an hourly basis. This is the portion of the research experiment funded by FIA (Project 2001016). Channel surveys in the lower reaches of Boulder Creek were completed in summer 2001. The objective is to monitor changes in stream morphology prior to harvest and post harvest. Funding for this portion of the project is provided by the MOF and the work is being conducted by Tim Giles. An additional aspect to the project may be added to the project in 2003. The University College of the Caribou is planning to study the effects on water chemistry and responses of benthic invertebrates. Funding for this portion of the project would be provided by UCC. Most forest hydrology and stream morphology research in B.C. has focused on coastal biogeoclimatic zones and the mountainous southern interior; little research has been conducted in the more rolling upland terrain typical of the Kamloops TSA. This collaborative research project will help to fill these knowledge gaps, provide a stronger scientific basis for estimating future hydrologic impacts associated with proposed harvesting, and add confidence to forest planning decisions in the Kamloops TSA and throughout the plateau-dominated environments of central B.C. Tolko Industries.
Tolko Industries. 2003. Water quality monitoring Boulder Creek: annual summary - effects of large openings on the hydrolic regime in high elevation interior plateau environments in British Columbia, Canada. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2003MR127