The hydrology of steep forested slopes is affected by human activity and climate change. Of particular interest is the response of peak flow during storms and rain-on-snow events, and change cause by landscape modifications such as road building, logging, avalanches, and landslides.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is investigating these questions at the Russell creek sub basin of the Tsitika river watershed of Northern Vancouver Island. This operates as part of the Forest Ecosystem Research Network. The project originated from the need to quantify the sediment transport down the Tsitika, which may negatively affect a protected whale rubbing beach at the river mouth. Since then efforts have been focused predominantly in the Stephanie creek sub-basin of Russell Creek. Instrumentation including hydrometric stations and weather stations have been installed, and snow courses are performed regularly. There are numerous sites from valley bottom to the alpine.
Specific research questions currently being investigated include stand level interception recovery, channel morphology, and preferential flow rates.
Research Summary: Russell Creek Watershed