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Hydrogeomorphic response to forest disturbance: Fishtrap Creek
Phillips, J.C.
In summer 2003, the McLure fire near Kamloops caused severe disturbance to approximately half of the Fishtrap Creek catchment area (Figure 1). Large portions of the burned areas have now been salvage logged. In the lower valley, the fire killed almost all of the trees in the riparian zone adjacent to the channel mainstem. Numerical models of stream channel morphology suggest that the reduction in bank strength due to the death of the riparian vegetation will result in a shift from the current stable single thread channel morphology to a braided channel with on average about four individual channels: the associated transport capacity for the current median sediment size on the bed is predicted to drop by at least one order of magnitude, suggesting that significant changes in the sediment routing will occur as well. This case presents a unique opportunity to study disturbance effects on watershed hydrology, sediment dynamics and channel morphology due to the availability of data and easy year-round access to the stream?s lower reach. Fishtrap Creek has been gauged by Water Survey of Canada (WSC) since 1971. In addition, researchers at Ministry of Forests have collected snow survey and meteorological data just outside the catchment since 1995. Additional post-fire monitoring includes water chemistry, suspended sediment dynamics, water temperature, and channel morphology and dynamics by R.D. Moore (UBC), E. Petticrew (Plymouth University, to be at UNBC from 2007 onwards), P. Owens (National Soil Resources Institute, UK, to be at UNBC from 2007), W. Blake (University of Plymouth, UK), T. Giles (MoF) and D. Einarson and B. Grace (MWLAP). Streamflow and water quality measurements are also being made on nearby Jamieson Creek, which was not disturbed by recent wildfire. To date, most of this monitoring has been supported through NSERC and other funding available to the researchers, and has resulted in several publications, including Petticrew and Owens (in press) and Owens et al. (in press).
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