Awarded to the North Kootenay Lake Water Monitoring Project to collect scale-appropriate climate data that will enable and informed land-use response in the face of climate change to better conserve and restore ecosystems, support sustainable community development, and prepare for increased hazards.
PROPONENT: North Kootenay Lake Water Monitoring Project (NKLWMP)
DESCRIPTION: The impacts of climate change and the need to better understand water dynamics are becoming increasingly apparent. In the NKLWMP study area, significant landslides or debris floods occurred in 2012, 2013 and 2017. The need for adequate data to better plan, prepare and respond to a changing climate is being felt in communities and across all sectors. This is also setting the stage for the integration of NKLWMP data into conservation and aquatic remediation projects.
Water monitoring efforts have significantly decreased across the Columbia Basin over recent decades, while demand on terrestrial and aquatic resources continues to grow. The absence of a comprehensive dataset creates conservation and community challenges because the data cannot capture the environmental changes underway in a changing climate. As a result, important decisions about land-use planning, water-use, stewardship, forest management, aquatic habitat, and emergency preparedness are being made without appropriate data to support and inform them. Climate change impacts are already having profound effects on the Kootenay Lake region, leaving communities and ecosystems in vulnerable positions.
OBJECTIVE: NKLWMP’s goals emphasize filling the gap in hydrometric monitoring on small- to medium-sized watersheds to determine how they may be impacted by a changing climate. The North Kootenay Lake Water Monitoring Project is building an in depth understanding of Kootenay watersheds that will enable making the right decisions to keep communities and ecosystems healthy and safe. Through monitoring snow depths (2 high elevation sites), temperature (air at 3 sites, water at 7 sites), precipitation (at three sites) and stream flow (at 7 sites) in small watersheds around Kootenay Lake, this project is building the dataset that will enable decision makers to make the right choices for the future.