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Regulation of water yield and quality in British Columbia through forest management Golding, Douglas Lawrence

Abstract

The economy of not only British Columbia but, according to recent water-diversion proposals, much of western North America is dependent on the water resources of British Columbia. Because of its importance, the water resources of the province must be managed properly, requiring information on the amount of the resource, its spatial and temporal distribution, and how these factors may be influenced. Research has shown that forest management influences the yield, regime, and quality of water. A comprehensive review of such research was presented and related to watershed management in British Columbia. Legislation, administration, and problems of water management were discussed with particular reference to forest management. It was recommended that B.C. Forest Service field staff be increased and that watershed management receive greater emphasis at the Forest Service Training School, Institute of Technology, and the University of British Columbia. The division of jurisdiction between the federal and provincial governments was suggested as the reason for the passive role of the federal government in water resources. Because Canada’s present water administration is inadequate for the future, the federal government should assume responsibility for initiating action on water-resource development, and the provinces should be willing to forego some degree of provincial rights in the interest of comprehensive management of the resource. The water resources of the province were examined and four watershed- management regions were designated (Coastal, Peace River, Interior, and Columbia Mountains) on the basis of climatic factors, water needs, and flood and erosion potential. Forest-management was related to the objectives of watershed management in each region. One objective of watershed management in the Interior Region is increasing water supplies. Tree Farm License No. 9, in the Okanagan Valley was used to demonstrate forest-management effects on water yield. Yield could be increased five per cent by substituting for the present forest management one based on financial rotations and consideration of water as an important secondary product. Statistical calibration of Windermere and Sinclair Greeks in the East Kootenays was presented, and the effect of logging on streamflow from Watching Greek near Kamloops was analysed graphically. Water balance and other studies were presented for Terrace Greek watershed on Tree Farm License No. 9. Other watershed research in British Columbia was reviewed and research needs discussed. A comprehensive research program was recommended, to begin with intensely-instrumented research watersheds in the Coastal and Interior Regions. A rational mathematical rainfall-interception model was developed using forest-stand variables, most of which can be measured on aerial photos, and data from interception studies carried out in British Columbia and the United States.

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