The 21st century has been identified as an era of unprecedented environmental change. Understanding the impact of these changes is important, especially to prepare for and mitigate
As Canada Research Chair in Hydrological Sustainability, Dr. Scott Ketcheson will research one key aspect of our environment, water. Specifically, he will examine how water moves within and between forests, wetlands and streams. By understandinging this water movement, we can better anticipate how much water is available for ecosystems and streams. Downstream ecosystems and streams or rivers are particularly affected by water movements upstream of them. We can also evaluate the sensitivity of ecosystems and streams to natural and human disturbances, such as wildfires, flooding and resource extraction.
Dr. Ketcheson’s research also aims to improve mine reclamation and closure plans in northern Alberta’s oil sands region, where vast areas within Canada’s Western Boreal Plain are being disturbed by development. Efficient oil sands mine management plans and regional water monitoring programs hinges on understanding water movement in constructed landscapes following mining.
To conduct this research, Dr. Ketcheson will set up a headwater research observatory within the Athabasca River Basin, where he will use innovative equipment to measure water flow and the many factors that affect it. Using advanced wireless networks, he can monitor many locations simultaneously across large areas.
Dr. Ketcheson’s analysis of water flow and water quality will be available for use by scientists around the world, policy-makers and environmental consultants, and resource extraction industry.