Managing snow accumulation under leafless aspen to enhance watershed value

TitleManaging snow accumulation under leafless aspen to enhance watershed value
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1971
AuthorsSwanson, R. H., and Stevenson D. R.
Conference Name39th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 39th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1971
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationBillings, Montana
KeywordsChinook winds, Hydrology groundwater, Small openings, Snow accumulation, Snowmelt management

Photographic records from Streeter Basin in Southern Alberta show that non-leaved cover influences both accumulation areas and ablation rate. Snow water equivalents in small natural openings on-half to five tree heights across were one-third more than under the surrounding canopy. Large clear areas not influenced by trees of topography were generally bare.Management implications are that total clearing of aspen and establishing grass in its stead is probably detrimental. Snow that should accumulate under aspen on the ridges is trapped in depressions, becoming direct runoff upon melting. The best range and watershed management should be strip of block clearings to hold snow on ridges. This combination should yield more forage, distribute grazing animals and augment the local groundwater regime.