The Effects of Canopy Closure on Precipitation Throughfall: Ecological Restoration Considerations for Spanish Bank Creek

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Graduate student (Masters)
Date created: 
2017-04
Keywords: 
Spanish Bank Creek
Fish habitat
Precipitation throughfall
Canopy cover
Restoration
Creeks
Hydraulic retention time
Abstract: 

Since the 1860s the watershed of Spanish Bank Creek has experienced many ecological disturbances due to extensive old-growth logging and urban development. Most notably, these disturbances have altered the vegetative composition and hydrology throughout the watershed. The historic old-growth forest has been replaced by species typical of earlier seral stages, as well as invasive species such as English ivy (Hedera helix). This disturbed vegetation mosaic is characterized by an arrested ecological trajectory that perpetuates degraded conditions. Urban development has eliminated over a third of the historic length of Spanish Bank Creek and storm drains were installed to direct residential drainage into the stream. The combination of a disturbed forest and degraded hydrology intensifies runoff and associated sediment transport, and decreases the hydraulic retention time of the watershed. This has led to a significant decline in abundance of chum, coho, and cutthroat salmonids in Spanish Bank Creek.

 

Previous research has established how trees partition precipitation into throughfall, stemflow, and interception, however there are few studies examining the effects of canopy closure on throughfall within the context of ecological restoration. Thus, the objective of this paper is to determine if increasing canopy closure can be used as a restoration model to decrease throughfall, and consequently increase the hydraulic retention time of the watershed. Results indicated that greater canopy closure was associated with decreased precipitation throughfall.

 

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Rights: 
Rights remain with the author.
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ken Ashley
Department: 
Environment: Ecological Restoration Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.
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