A watershed management pilot project in Alberta

TitleA watershed management pilot project in Alberta
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1986
AuthorsBernier, P. Y., and Swanson R. H.
Conference Name54th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 54th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1986
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationPhoenix, Arizona
KeywordsSnow management, Timber management, Water yield

The Province of Alberta is currently planning a pilot-scale test of water yield increase through patch clear-cutting of timber. The chosen basin occupies 157sq km of foothills terrain. Planned operations call for 50% of the 98 sq km of operable forest to be harvested. Ideally, because of effect of wind on snow, clear-cuts should be kept small, with windward lengths between 5 and 8 times the height of the surrounding trees (H). The economics of timber harvesting disfavor small openings. The compromise reached between snow management theory and timber harvesting practice calls for strips of 8H in windward length. With an estimated baseline flow of 186 mm, such treatment would incresase annual yield by 18% to 221 mm. If the estimation of dominant wind direction is wrong, windward lengths along the strips could reach 15H or more, for an estimated water yield increase of less than 10%.