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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Land-use capabilities for recreation at hydro-electric reservoirs in British Columbia : a case study Griggs, Robert Mark

Abstract

This thesis develops an approach to integrated resources management for hydro-electric energy development and an application of the method to an established single purpose project. Traditionally hydroelectric projects in British Columbia have been orientated towards the single purpose of energy generation. Yet as demands for water-based recreation rise, hydro-electric reservoirs become increasingly valuable for other uses, as has been demonstrated by multi-purpose projects in the United States. Thus, improved planning and management of reservoirs is necessary to achieve an increased level of resource use and environmental quality. It is suggested in this thesis that an analysis of land-use capabilities (biogeophysical) is a logical initial phase in determining the limitations for recreational use at reservoirs. It is further postulated that the use of a methodology which integrates land-use capabilities of the reservoir ecosystem with recreation-user requirements for selected recreational activities will minimize their environmental impact. Such a framework is based on the ecological principle that all land has the inherent capacity to generate different levels of biological production under various combinations of circumstances. Furthermore, based on these combinations of circumstances, the land and water may be classified into distinct landtypes for recreational use. Such a classification was developed and applied in a case study to Hayward Lake (a Run-of-the-River Reservoir) located near the coast of southwestern British Columbia. The results demonstrated clearly that the five landtypes (probably genera 1izable to other reservoirs) were identifiable, and that within these divisions, varying degrees of capability for recreation existed. Within the Reservoir ecosystem, five land-based and water-based landtypes are distinguished. These are the division of the water surface into: 1) the Open Water Zone, and 2) the Littoral Zone, and the division of the land into 1) the Beach Zone, 2) the Foreshore Zone (often preceded by a Subforeshore Zone), and 3) the Upland Zone. These zones may be further classified for selected recreational activities on the basis of various biogeophysica1 attribute values: e.g., soil textures, slope, water temperature, surface currents, exposure to sun and wind, etc. The preliminary analysis also indicated that five additional components for integrated reservoir management were necessary, namely: sedimentation control, reservoir clearance, regulated water flows, on-water zoning, and proper design standards. These were discussed briefly in the concluding chapter. In the final analysis, it is suggested that the classification framework should be expanded to assess not only the recreation capabilities of the reservoir (which forms one component of integrated management) but also the total uses of the water resource (based on capability, suitability, and feasibility) for the maximum benefit of society.

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