Water Resources Management

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 565–578 | Cite as

Riparian Forest Harvesting Effects on Maximum Water Temperatures in Wetland-sourced Headwater Streams from the Nicola River Watershed, British Columbia, Canada

  • Sierra Rayne
  • Gregory Henderson
  • Paramjit Gill
  • Kaya Forest


Water temperature was continuously recorded during the ice-free season between June/July and October/November at 90 sites with lentic and lotic stream sources distributed throughout the Nicola River watershed (British Columbia, Canada) in 1999, 2000, and 2001. The eight lentic-sourced stream temperature monitoring sites were located in two adjacent watersheds. The headwaters and riparian areas around the wetland outlet of the treatment watershed were harvested during the overwinter period between 1999 and 2000. Areas around and downstream of the headwater wetland outlet in the control watershed were not harvested. Reducing riparian shade by harvesting activities increased maximum stream temperatures in the treatment watershed by up to 1–2°C relative to the control watershed. Because of the general downstream cooling trends in lentic-sourced headwater streams, riparian harvesting activities in these regions have a reduced thermal impact relative to similar harvesting alongside lotic-sourced headwater streams, whose maximum stream temperatures may warm by up to 8°C following harvesting. The downstream influence of elevated maximum stream temperatures from riparian harvesting of lentic-sourced headwater streams appears to be localized, but persists for at least 2 years following harvesting. Both lentic-sourced treatment and control streams in the current study relaxed towards baseline equilibrium temperature estimated by the lotic-sourced watershed trend within several hundred meters of downstream travel distance, with cooling rates proportional to the distance from expected thermal equilibrium. Due to the heating in wetland-sourced stream reaches adjacent to riparian harvesting, the regions downstream of treatment areas cool more rapidly than similar regions in control watersheds as the stream attempts to achieve thermal equilibrium.


Stream temperature Headwater streams Riparian harvesting activities Thermal equilibrium Water quality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sierra Rayne
    • 1
  • Gregory Henderson
    • 2
  • Paramjit Gill
    • 3
  • Kaya Forest
    • 4
  1. 1.Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and SciencesThe University of British Columbia at OkanaganKelownaCanada
  2. 2.Matrix Solutions, Inc.CalgaryCanada
  3. 3.Mathematics, Statistics, and Physics, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and SciencesThe University of British Columbia at OkanaganKelownaCanada
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryOkanagan CollegePentictonCanada

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