"Course on Developing Effective Watershed Blueprints" Showcases Tools and Case Study Experience to Help Restore Watershed Health
Later in 2012, the Capital Regional District is hosting a 2-day course that supports the region’s Integrated Watershed Management Implementation Strategy. The course comprises eight modules; and will guide participants through the stages and steps in developing a plan that is balanced, truly integrated and financially sustainable.Jim Dumont, Engineering Applications Authority for the Water Balance Model Partnership, is a member of the teaching team.To learn more, click here.
The Science Behind Integrated Rainwater Management
“Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans has identified the interflow system as an incredibly important and yet fragile component of a watershed. Interflow is critical for maintaining stream health and the fishery resource. The course will teach how to protect and restore interflow by installing a simple ‘interflow replicator’ on development sites. The function is to replenish low flows to the stream,” states Jim Dumont.
“Two primers provide the technical foundation for the course curriculum. The Hydrology Primer and the Watershed Modeling Primer cover the basics and are suitable for engineers and non-engineers. The primers will help everyone make informed decisions about how to apply a science-based understanding to restore watershed function.”
“Interflow is a part of nearly every watershed; however, I know there will always be an exception. The exception occurs where the watershed is underlain by coarse grained soils. Everywhere else there is a thin layer of bio-chemically altered material called, top soil, underlain by a finer silty or clay subsoils,” continues Jim Dumont.
“It is in these instances that the water accumulates and flows as interflow through the topsoil as it follows the path of least resistance; through the topsoil rather than through the underlying tighter soils. This explains why surface flows from pervious surfaces are often observed to be nil and a catchment contribution to a stream is then ignored.”
“This situation arises simply as a result of the modelling process for design storms or the rational method that lumps any water that infiltrates through the surface as a ‘loss’. All the while it may well be moving sideways down slope to the stream through shallow surficial soils. Unseen and hence ignored because it has been deemed to be unimportant.”
“The question is whether is it important enough to become a regulatory issue. I am not aware of this being an item that regulators in other jurisdictions acknowledge or review. I believe the old adage can be reworded to include: ‘see not’, regulate not’,” concludes Jim Dumont.
To Learn More:
“It is now time to take another leap forward, albeit by moving sideways, and recognize near surface lateral water flow, otherwise known as interflow,” states Alan Jonsson, Habitat Engineer with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
“Interflow is often the dominant drainage path in glaciated landscapes of British Columbia. Even undeveloped sites that are founded on till and bedrock rarely show overland flow because of interflow pathways. The challenge for engineers is to determine the influence of interflow on a site and then design and implement techniques that replace or restore it.”