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Testing and Refining a Unique Approach for Setting Environmental Flow and Water Level Targets for a Southern Ontario Subwatershed

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Title: Testing and Refining a Unique Approach for Setting Environmental Flow and Water Level Targets for a Southern Ontario Subwatershed
Author: Beaton, Andrew
Department: School of Engineering
Program: Engineering
Advisor: Bradford, Andrea
Abstract: In this study Bradford’s (2008) approach for setting ecological flow and water level targets is tested and refined through application within the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s (LSRCA) subwatershed of Lover’s Creek. A method for defining subwatershed objectives and identifying habitat specialists through expert input is proposed and tested. The natural regime of each streamflow and wetland site is characterized along with the hydrological alteration at each site. Potential ecological responses to the hydrologic alterations are then hypothesized for the different types of changes calculated at each site. Methods for setting overall ecosystem health and specific ecological objective flow targets are proposed and tested. These targets are integrated into a flow regime for each site and a process for using this information for decision making is suggested. Flow magnitude quantification is attempted using hydraulic modelling and sediment transport equations, however the data used were found to be inadequate for this application. The accuracy of the targets developed using the method presented in this paper is mainly limited by the accuracy of the hydrological model and quantified flow magnitudes. Recommendations for improving these components of the assessment are made. The unique approach and recommendations presented in this paper provide explicit steps for developing flow targets for subwatersheds within the LSRCA. This research contributes toward the advancement of EFA within the LSRCA, which provides opportunity for enhanced protection and restoration of ecosystem health across the watershed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3850
Date: 2012-08
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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/