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Evaluating the Potential for Low Impact Development to Mitigate Impacts of Urbanization on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems using MIKE SHE

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Title: Evaluating the Potential for Low Impact Development to Mitigate Impacts of Urbanization on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems using MIKE SHE
Author: Dekker, Peter Andrew
Department: School of Engineering
Program: Engineering
Advisor: Bradford, Andrea
Abstract: Groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs), including wetlands and river baseflow systems, are a topic of substantial scientific study. The degradation of GDEs due to urbanization has been well documented. An altered hydrologic regime, through increased impervious area resulting in a flashier hydrologic regime with lower troughs, higher peaks, and quicker changes, has been recognized as a main factor affecting ecological condition. Yet studies on GDEs rarely include a hydrologic modelling component. In this study, the conjunctive hydrologic model MIKE SHE was used to simulate the Lovers Creek subwatershed near Barrie, ON. The hydrologic regime was simulated for pre-development (natural), current (urbanized), and various low-impact development (LID) land use scenarios. The results were linked to the ecological condition via the TQmean metric, which has been used in the literature to relate the hydrologic and ecological conditions of streams. The highest percentage LID scenario restored, on average, 11% of the reduction in TQmean that occurred from pre-development to urbanized conditions, indicating that LID has the potential to protect GDEs in urbanized watersheds. It is expected that the effect of LID would be amplified if considered on a more local scale within a predominantly high density urban area. Recommendations for future modelling efforts to evaluate GDEs and represent LID are made.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/5286
Date: 2012-12
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