STREAM HEALTH AFTER URBANIZATION1

Authors

  • J. K. Finkenbine,

    1. Respectively, Water Resources Engineer, BC Hydro, 6911 Southpoint Dr., Burnaby, B.C., V3N 4X8, Canada; and Associate Professor and Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia, 2324 Main Mall, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4, Canada (E-Mail/finkenbine: jennifer.fmkenbine@bchydro.bc.ca).
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  • J. W. Atwater,

    1. Respectively, Water Resources Engineer, BC Hydro, 6911 Southpoint Dr., Burnaby, B.C., V3N 4X8, Canada; and Associate Professor and Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia, 2324 Main Mall, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4, Canada (E-Mail/finkenbine: jennifer.fmkenbine@bchydro.bc.ca).
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  • D. S. Mavinic

    1. Respectively, Water Resources Engineer, BC Hydro, 6911 Southpoint Dr., Burnaby, B.C., V3N 4X8, Canada; and Associate Professor and Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia, 2324 Main Mall, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4, Canada (E-Mail/finkenbine: jennifer.fmkenbine@bchydro.bc.ca).
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  • 1

    PaperNo. 98161 of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.Discussions are open until June 1,2001

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Urban development has compromised the quality of physical elements offish habitat in low-order spawning and rearing streams. In order to identify where priorities should lie in stream rehabilitation, field surveys of a number of streams were conducted near Vancouver, British Columbia. All of the streams were located in watersheds which were urbanized approximately 20 years earlier. The study watersheds ranged from 5 to 77 percent total impervious area (percent TIA). The urban streambeds were found to have less fine material and slightly higher values of intragravel dissolved oxygen than in rural streams. This improved gravel quality is attributed to the higher peak flows generated by impervious areas, and the reduced recruitment of fine material in the urban watersheds. Summer base flow was uniformly low when imperviousness was above 40 percent, evidenced by a decrease in velocity rather than water depth. Large woody debris (LWD) was scarce in all streams with > 20 percent TIA. A healthy buffer zone and abundant LWD were found to stabilize stream banks. The introduction of LWD is considered the most important strategy for stream rehabilitation. Stormwater detention ponds, in contrast, are concluded to have few hydrological benefits if constructed after a stream has reached its urban equilibrium.

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