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Webinar: Towards Understanding The Influence Of Headwater Catchments On Water Availability In The Athabasca River Basin

March 21st, 2019

Determining the redistribution and storage of water between and among forested hillslopes, wetlands and watercourses is key to understanding runoff at a larger scale. Although the topography of the Western Boreal Plain is generally low relief, upland landforms (small “mountains”) are scattered throughout. In spite of their relatively small areal extent, these mountains likely have a disproportionately large hydrological impact. However, there are not many instrumented catchments on these landforms to understand their function.

In this talk, I will introduce the Stony Mountain Headwater Catchment Observatory, which comprises 5 small (<10 km2) headwater catchments ~40 km south of Fort McMurray; the first of its kind in the lower Athabasca River Basin. I will describe these catchments and some of the innovative technologies that we are using to collect data from the field, as well as present some findings that highlight the importance of northern Alberta’s “mountains” and wetlands on sustaining water flows in local streams and regional rivers in the Athabasca River Basin.