abca not noticing extreme weather affecting local watersheds
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ABCA not noticing extreme weather affecting local watersheds

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority’s Water Resources Coordinator says they haven’t really noticed any recent extreme events that could be attributed to climate change.

But Davin Heinbuck says what they are seeing is some changes in runoff pattern.

“Where we are seeing some changes, is the runoff patterns are changing. So we may get we may get these rain fall events, the big ones or the more moderate ones, what we’re seeing though is that, with land use changes, we’re seeing changes in how the rivers are responding. That’s something we’ve seen.”

Heinbuck says with some of the heavier rain falls, the water gets into the rivers faster, but it also means the river fills up sooner and so, what he refers to as flashy floods result in the water leaving the rivers sooner, which can mean, down the road, lower water or even drought-like conditions.

Heinbuck says it’s very difficult to accurately measure the effects of climate change on a local scale.

“It’s hard to really measure the effects of climate change on a local scale. But one thing we can start to measure is the land change and how that combines with climate change to change the hydrology, or how the weather systems are affecting our rivers and stuff.”

Heinbuck says the three most common types of flood events in ABCA watersheds are heavy rains; rain and snowmelt; and ice jams. He adds, there has also been coastal flooding along Lake Huron’s shoreline especially during the recent period of relatively high lake levels near record highs or at record monthly high levels.
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