long term data tells a great story
In 1996 Limnotek started a long-term project partnered with the St’at’imc First Nation and BC Hydro, a regional power utility, to examine ecological responses to different multi-year trials of flow release from the large Terzaghi Dam located on the Bridge River, British Columbia, Canada. Findings will contribute to supporting decisions on flow release to meet multiple and challenging demands for downstream water use. Recent analyses and modeling using data from the 22-year project history revealed amazing insight into links between habitat and benthic invertebrates that drive ecological energy flow in the Bridge River. Results showed that flow is not a single physical force but is a combination of physical (temperature, hydraulics), chemical (nutrients), and biological (food web driven) forces acting differently over space and time on biological communities. This insight along with findings from companion projects on fish response to flow has contributed much to making decisions about flow management in the Bridge River. This quantitative linking of habitat to assemblage pattern is rare in the ecological literature associated with flow-controlled rivers but was made possible by nature of the long-term data and standardization of methods over the long term. It has told a great story soon to be arriving in the scientific literature!