To further the group’s hydrological research in intensively managed Prairie watersheds, Genevieve Ali was recently awarded funding by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for the establishment a new research platform to be called MHyLAB (Mobile Hydrobiogeochemical LABoratory). This new infrastructure will allow our group to examine the temporal variability of nutrient concentrations in surface waters, the relative importance of surface and subsurface flow processes in runoff generation, the factors that affect natural drainage (i.e. surface water travel times and groundwater residence times), and the exchange of water between soils and vegetation at a temporal frequency of 6 hours or less in targeted Prairie watershed. The MHyLAB will comprise instruments that are not only suitable for laboratory operation but also field-deployable for long-term and high-frequency in-situ data collection, thus providing technical capabilities that do not currently exist in the Prairies.
The MHyLAB related funding is provided by the CFI under the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), formerly known as the Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF). Additional information about this round of funding can be found in the CFI and University of Manitoba press releases.
University of Manitoba press release: http://news.umanitoba.ca/investing-in-the-future-research-leaders-get-funding/
CFI press release: http://www.innovation.ca/en/Media/News/Researchinfrastructurereceives63millionboostGovernmentCanada
A multi-partner research team led by Genevieve Ali was recently successful in getting funds from the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund (Round 6). The goal of the project – to start in 2013 and end in 2017 – is to develop a simulation tool that will allow researchers and land managers to examine and measure the potential positive impacts of various methods to restore and conserve wetlands across Prairie landscapes, as well as determine priority areas for future restoration activities. We are currently recruiting one PhD student or two Master students to work on this project; interested candidates are invited to contact Genevieve Ali at Genevieve.Ali@umanitoba.ca.
The Watershed Systems Research program is lucky enough to have had three research projects given the go ahead by Environment Canada through the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund (LWBSF).
- The biggest project, led by the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association (MCDA), will focus on the establishment of pilot sites for innovative surface water and nutrient management initiatives on farms. Our ultimate goal is to evaluate various beneficial management practices for retaining and re-using runoff water on land (i.e. disconnecting agricultural runoff from waterways and preventing the export of nutrients downstream into Lake Winnipeg). The project is supported by multiple academic and non-academic partners investing close to 1-million dollars of funds, including $400,000 from the LWBSF.
- Another project led by the University of Manitoba will look at the development of a simulation tool to identify priority areas for wetland conservation and restoration (see other news entry on this page): among the $200,000 assembled to carry the research activities over a four-year period, $53,000 have been awarded by the LWBSF.
- Lastly, The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) is leading a project aiming at designing and managing riparian areas to filter phosphorus and sediment. Thanks to a $147,000 contribution from the LWBSF and about $500,000 from research partners, the team led by Phil Owens will select sites in Southern Manitoba to examine how phosphorus and other agricultural sediments filter into waterways, and assess the potential of different types of riparian areas to act as buffer zones to effectively prevent riverine nutrient export.
Details about the aforementioned projects and all proposals funded by the LWBSF can be found at http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/default.asp?lang=En&xml=965BBC77-5663-45A4-82A1-DEC3F8E12466#X-201110141605965
Funding was awarded to Genevieve Ali through Environment Canada’s Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative to conduct research on the “delineation of areas that contribute to nutrient transport in near-level landscapes within Lake Winnipeg Watershed”. Indeed, runoff is particularly difficult to calculate in Prairie basins because the areas contributing to downstream flows are limited and highly variable in space and time. Significant work on contributing and non-contributing areas has been done in the Prairie Pothole Region but not in flat Prairie landscapes where hydrologic connectivity is controlled by sheet flow on frozen ground, water losses in high infiltration capacity soils, and enhanced drainage via man-made structures. A PhD student, Maliheh Rabie, will deploy hydrometric instruments in selected watersheds in Manitoba and develop a dynamic model of overland flow connectivity toward a time-dependent delineation of contributing areas in the downstream portion of the Lake Winnipeg Watershed. She will also develop a better understanding of the movement of nutrients through near-level watersheds as a function of variable contributing areas. Maliheh will be working under the umbrella of the Watershed Systems Research Program while being co-advised by Genevieve Ali (University of Manitoba) and Chris Spence (Environment Canada/National Hydrology Research Centre, University of Saskatchewan).
Genevieve Ali just received new funding from NSERC for research on water, sediment and nutrient connectivity in engineered Prairie landscapes. This new funding is also associated with an Early Career Researcher Award to G. Ali. With this new research program, focus will be on landscapes where natural flow paths have been significantly altered by surface drains, tile drains, storage ponds, farm dams, and wetland drainage towards floodplain development and agricultural expansion.
The University of Manitoba (Genevieve Ali, David Lobb, Annemieke Farenhorst) signed a collaborative research agreement with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation (MIT) to investigate runoff generation mechanisms and nutrient export processes in the Catfish Creek Watershed (part of the larger Winnipeg River Watershed). The project will span over a three-year period and notably involve the recruitment of two MSc students: Halya Petzold (official start: January 2013) and Amber Penner (official start: May 2013).
A University of Manitoba research grant awarded to G. Ali will allow the identification of an optimal sampling frequency to monitor water quality in Prairie watersheds. Indeed, while water quality monitoring programs are generally based on low frequency sampling regimes, with grab samples of stream water collected on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly or seasonal basis and then analyzed in a laboratory, recent pioneering work has challenged the adequacy of low frequency water quality surveillance programs. The group will therefore investigate when, and how frequently surface waters should be sampled in the specific agricultural and snowmelt-dominated Manitoba context over the next two field seasons.