UBC Undergraduate Research

China Creek Water Quality: A Comparison Before and After Timber Harvest and Independent Power Project Construction Buschhaus, Catherine T. E.


Stream water quality is of significance not only to human resource-users and stake-holders, but also to the resident species in the stream and riparian ecosystems. Many of the chemical, biological, and physical attributes that define water quality are inter-related; however, a thorough understanding of the complexity of these processes is important for watershed management. The China Creek watershed on Vancouver Island was disturbed in the mid-2000s by both timber harvest and construction of a power project weir intake. Modelled relationships between key physical variables collected at the Port Alberni water intake weir, including daily maximum stream temperature (ºC), daily maximum air temperature (ºC), and daily average specific conductance (µS/cm) showed a statistically significant difference before and after disturbance. During low flows, as indicated by high specific conductance, stream temperatures increased approximately 1ºC following disturbance. While discrete water sample measurements of chemical and biological parameters were available, the data were insufficient to determine whether concentrations changed with disturbance. Quantifying water-quality variables and their relationships to one another could be important in monitoring the recovery of processes, such as thermal regime, following disturbance in China Creek.

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