Modelling Fluvial Discharge and Sediment Transport of the Skeena Watershed




Wild, Amanda

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Sediments are a crucial component to the aquatic ecosystem of estuaries and coastal wetlands, as they influence the biotic and abiotic exchanges and morphological transformations that occur (Levin et al., 2001). The Skeena River, a watershed in Northwestern British Columbia, at its delta mouth, deposits millions of tonnes of dissolved, suspended, and bedload sediment into the Skeena estuary (Kelson, 2012). However, there is little available, long term data records on sediment load transported by the Skeena River. In order to address this gap in knowledge, public and open source data were used to estimate sediment load and river discharge over a thirty year period at the mouth of the Skeena River using the Hydrotrend model. These results were compared with observed river discharge station data along the Skeena River in order to assess model accuracy. Trends apparent within the long term sediment load estimates are contextualized in terms of their current and posed future implications for the estuary. Moving forward with this research, a successful model could be used to estimate sediment load at the river mouth into the future using predicted climate scenarios or supplement further studies on the sedimentation within the Skeena estuary



Hydrology, Watershed, Modelling, Sediments, Discharge, British Columbia