Analysis of impervious surface area, and the impacts on soil-based agriculture and the hydrological cycle
A case study in the Agricultural Land Reserve in Metro Vancouver, BC, CanadaFULL REPORT (pdf)
An analytical model of rainfall interception by urban trees
By: Jieying (Jenny) Huang, MLWS 2016http://mlwsurbantreesinterception.weebly.com/ Urban trees are recognized for their capacity in improving air quality, aesthetic values, and reducing energy consumption, while their ability to help divert rainfall and reduce urban runoff are often overlooked. This study provides an analytical model on rainwater interception performance of a selection of common urban trees in Metro Vancouver, given a series of climatic and tree characteristics. The model outputs and interface are designed to inform and enhance decision support tools that are used in the development of stormwater management plans and permit applications associated with urban development projects. Specific goals of this study include:
- Developing a rainfall interception model with different approaches to deriving model parameters
- Validating the model with empirical data collected in the District of North Vancouver
- Evaluating the sensitivity of major model parameters
- Investigating the seasonal rainfall interception performance of four deciduous tree species
- Projecting future interception performance of selected tree species under climate change scenarios
Conceptualizing Stream Ecosystem Restoration
By: P. Clemens Langemeyer, MLWS 2016http://www.pclangemeyer.com/projects Land managers and conservationists generally agree that ecocentric restoration is a mandatory practice with regard to the development of a sustainable future. Years of unsuccessful restoration have led to the realization that conventional approaches are ineffective. Present-day restoration projects continue to be undermined by conceptual models founded decades ago: river systems were seen as inherently homogenous, held in equilibrium by natural processes, and that these processes remained constant regardless of scale. This has led to the continued misunderstanding of the heterogeneity and interconnectivity of streams, a perception that is still represented by conventional restoration practices. The Stream Ecosystem Network is an interactive digital mind map that stimulates thought with respect to ecosystem connectivity, allowing users to visualize various components of stream ecosystems, and how they are interrelated. Environmental professionals capable of identifying and communicating interactions between system components across a multitude of disciplines (systems-thinkers) are a valuable asset to the continued development of this network. This project reviews and discusses how the network might benefit restoration ecologists throughout project development. Several published guidelines serve as a platform for discussing restoration strategy development and the re-integration of riverine natural processes. Interactive Mind Map: http://www.pclangemeyer.com/stream-ecosystem-network
Assessment of the opportunities and challenges of organic cranberry production in BC
A conceptual framework for a community-based approach to addressing artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana
Assessing water appropriation and equity in the Coello and Bermellon watersheds, Colombia
Application of Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM)
Floodplain mapping of the Chilliwack River, BC
From Vedder Crossing to Slesse Creek
By: Yihang (Eric) Shi, MLWS 2016http://syhex40.wixsite.com/floodplainmapping In order to provide effective information to help minimize flood damage in British Columbia, floodplain mapping is critical for the Federal and BC governments to develop policies and strategies for potential flooding events. BC communities that lack up-to-date floodplain maps risk billions of dollars in property damage and even the lives of their citizens when a flood hits. This study focused on the community of Chilliwack, BC and the Chilliwack River, which has historically been subject to recurrent and severe flooding. Temperature and precipitation extremes have grown in recent years, leading to an increase in flood risks in the watershed, and the floodplain map is nearly 30 years old. Water levels typically rise during the spring and summer as a result of snowmelt, but the historic larger floods have occurred in the fall and winter, brought on by heavy rainfall or rain-on-snow events. With more current climate data, it is expected that the modelled flood risk areas have changed since the last mapping period; this project’s aims were to update the map for this region using hydraulic analysis (HEC-RAS) and GIS applications (HEC-GeoRAS, ArcMap). This project provides useful information for landowners, governments, and local communities for the development of flood hazard strategies.
From Water Act to Water Sustainability Act
By: Katrina Sigloch, MLWS 2015British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act (WSA) will enable the sustainable management of water and aquatic ecosystems, but requires a multi-disciplinary understanding of the causes of water crises, management complexities, and the new water management changes and opportunities under the WSA. This evaluation provides a comparative assessment of the potential changes to water allocation decision-making and opportunities for water management in BC as a result of the introduction of the WSA, which will replace the Water Act (WA) in 2016. The goal of the WSA is to manage water sustainably under increasing demand, climatic variability and frequency of water scarcity. This evaluation focuses on the changes to the water management regime as a result of moving from the WA to the WSA, and in particular on (i) significant immediate changes to water allocation for societal and environmental purposes, and (ii) opportunities for water planning and protection provisions. KEY MESSAGES The new provisions under the WSA are environmentally and hydrologically significant modernized water management provisions that enable:
- Consideration and allocation of the complete hydrologic cycle
- Environmental flow needs to be provided for in the statutory realm
- More efficient and effective drought management
- Legal establishment of water objectives and land use practice requirements
- Opportunities for flexible governance
Rain Water Harvesting with the Homegrown Rainwater Model
By: Acadia Tucker, MLWS 2015http://www.prhomegrowncoop.com/waterwise-agriculture.html Alternative water resources, like rainwater harvesting, are under-utilized yet offer a decentralized approach that can increase the reliability and resiliency of urban water supplies, particularly for urban agricultural production. By exploring alternative approaches to water use and distribution, urban areas can decrease their dependency on large scale water systems and avoid the risks associated with centralized water supplies. Now is the time to start planning for a more unpredictable future in a way that mitigates the adversity linked with these events. The Homegrown Rainwater Model was designed and developed to help small scale growers determine the feasibility of installing a rainwater system at a site. The model design is based on three different steps to help users fully understand the potential system requirements that work best for each individual situation. The model predicts a specific location’s water supply and demand based on easily accessible information such as local precipitation, air temperature and irrigated area.
Cumulative Ecological Impact of the Residential Construction Industry
By: Erika Nassichuk, MLWS 2015http://blogs.ubc.ca/residentialconstructionwatershedhealth/ There are many issues associated with the impacts of residential construction on watersheds. Examples include sediment-laden or chemically contaminated water entering into watercourses and a trend towards larger building footprints that can reduce the amount of land available for rainwater infiltration. The cumulative effects of widespread construction are not well understood and there is not currently an easy to follow guide to help builders and contractors minimize damage to the surrounding watershed while building or renovating single-family homes. There are two overall objectives associated with this project. The first is to create a clear, easy to follow, online educational resource that can inform developers of the potential negative impacts of residential construction on watercourses and watersheds. The second objective is to encourage the use of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) by the construction industry in order to facilitate small changes to improve urban watershed health. A guiding framework was developed to aid both developers and homeowners to minimize their impact on watersheds by activities.
Connecting the Drops: An agricultural water assessment and strategy for Surrey, BChttp://blogs.ubc.ca/surreywaterstrategy/ Conflict over resources is particularly problematic in peri-urban areas, where urban and rural development relies on the same land and water resource systems. Peri-urban agriculture is a valuable form of agriculture that provides environmental, recreational, and food security benefits to urban areas; however, urban competition for land and water and a lack of system-based planning has led to the fragmentation of arable land, stressed water systems, and a consequent decline in the potential for peri-urban agricultural production. There is a need to improve the efficiency of land and water use and better integrate urban and rural demands for land and water resources. This project uses the city of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada as a case study for developing a regional, system-based strategy for increasing peri-urban agricultural productivity. The strategy focuses on integrating the management of geographically-fixed soil resources with water resources that flow through time and space. A water chain analysis and a water resource suitability assessment reveal that opportunities, vulnerabilities, and inefficiencies exist within Surrey’s water system. These results are applied using a holistic decision-making framework in order to demonstrate how alternative water harvesting and cropping opportunities may be developed and inform the directions for policy.
British Columbia Reclaimed Mine Sites
By: Adrienne Turcotte, MLWS 2015http://bcminereclamation.weebly.com This project aimed to answer the following questions:
- What are some of the techniques that are used to reclaim metal mines in BC?
- Which techniques were successful? Were there any similarities across the case studies in the different environments?
- Which techniques caused challenges in reaching ecological restoration? Were there any similarities across the case studies in the different environments?
Run-of-River Hydroelectric Projects and Cumulative Impacts in British Columbia
Understanding Irrigation Demand in Metro Vancouver
An Application of the Agricultural Water Demand Model (developed by the BC Ministry of Agriculture)https://metrovanirrigationdemand.wordpress.com Managing water quantity and quality in the Metro Vancouver region is an ongoing challenge under seasonal periods of water stress; particularly in the agricultural sector – a primary water consumer. Poor or absent regulation and monitoring of groundwater and surface water use in agriculture severely limits the capacity to assess water reserves and consumption and strategically manage water resources. This creates uncertainty regarding future water availability and risk within the agricultural sector. Improving our understanding of irrigation demand for agricultural production is a crucial step toward strategically managing the water resources upon which the agricultural industry depends. This investigation aims to address this concern by using the Agricultural Water Demand Model for Metro Vancouver (AWDM) as a comparative assessment tool. The AWDM is used to investigate irrigation demand within Metro Vancouver’s Agricultural Land Reserve in order to inform policy makers with regards to water management.
Agricultural Potential of the West Kootenay
A regional review of the land, soil and climate for crop potential
- Quantifying the amount of agricultural land in the region and identifying its location using the Canada Land Inventory’s Soil Capability for Agriculture Classifications
- Assessing the range of climate projections for 2050 and their significant for agricultural potential using Global Climate Model scenarios
- Summarizing current agricultural activity in the region using the 2011 Canada Agricultural Census
- Exploring the suitability of crops for specific areas
Article published in Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development
Water Availability and Climate Change
Chapman Creek Water System, Sunshine Coast, BC
By: Monte Staats, MLWS 2014Chapman Creek is the main water source on the Sunshine Coast, BC, and services approximately 22,000 people. Concerns have been expressed that increasing water demand due to population growth and increasing climatic variability may lead to water shortages during the summer season and insufficient summer stream flows to maintain a healthy aquatic environment. A water demand and supply analysis was conducted for the Chapman water system to determine how climate change will impact water consumption and future water supply. The analysis reviews historic temperature, precipitation, discharge, and water consumption data to determine historic trends. This study examines relationships between climate and water consumption to provide insight into the potential impacts from climate change on water supply and demand during the summer season. This project is presented as a website, hosted on the UBC Blogs platform. Link to website here. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (pdf)
Natural Richmond – Through a Water LensThis study investigates some of the relationships presented by the Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus in the City of Richmond, BC. The concept of a Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus allows us to engage population growth, resource development, and climate change in a broader conversation. Recognizing that water, energy and food are inseparable, the focus on this nexus fosters integrated, cross-sectoral planning. This project is presented as a website, bringing some of Richmond’s water-related opportunities and challenges to the public’s attention through a series of short videos and complementary technical studies. In order to plan future directions for this municipality, and others, we must first know where we have come from. This project considers four key topics:
- Natural History
- Climate Change
- Land Use Change