Water Stewardship Information Sources

Citation Turner, D. 2012. Low stream flows: Making decisions in an uncertain climate. MRM Thesis, SFU.
Organization SFU
URL http://rem-main.rem.sfu.ca/theses/TurnerDorian_2012_MRM528.pdf
Abstract/Description or Keywords Water resource managers must make decisions regarding minimum instream
flow requirements for rivers, despite many uncertainties. Two important uncertainties
concern (1) estimates of usable fish habitat at different discharges, and (2) effects of
climate change on future stream discharge. I examined the implications of these two
uncertainties for the North Alouette River, British Columbia (BC). Using the British
Columbia Instream Flow Methodology, which is an assessment method for water
diversions needed by small-scale hydroelectric projects, I found that uncertainty in
habitat preferences of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) fry generally dominated
uncertainty in the results of the BCIFM when numerous transects were used. In contrast,
for fewer than 15 transects, variation in physical habitat among sampled transects was
the most important source of uncertainty. In addition, the increasing frequency of climate
driven low-flow events suggests that operations of small-scale hydroelectric projects in
BC may become more restricted in the future.
Keywords: Instream flow needs; low-flow period; fish habitat; run-of-river
hydroelectric generation; climate change; small streams;
Information Type thesis
Regional Watershed Lower Fraser
Sub-watershed if known North Alouette
Aquifer #
Project status complete
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