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Out with the snow, in with Field Season 2014!

With May upon us, the snowmelt has finally arrived at the Catfish Creek Watershed, and with it the 2014 field season. The past two weeks have brought the bulk of the freshet, straining our in-stream instruments and overtopping wells that are usually intended for measuring depth below the ground surface to the perched water table. In a couple of weeks when the water recedes we will be able to download data from our (hopefully still intact) water level loggers to get an idea of exactly what magnitude of runoff event was produced by the melt of this year’s deeper-than-normal snow pack. Until then, the Catfish Creek crew will be visiting the area every few days to take water samples for nutrient analysis, monitor conditions, and perform emergency equipment replacements should anything wash away.

What a difference a few weeks make! On the left, field research assistant Nicole is bundled up in preparation for a day of snow pack surveying, less than one month ago. At this point, the snow pack was extensive and had not yet begun to melt (centre). But by the end of April, the same sod fields that were once snow covered (beyond the drain, along the horizon) are now water logged (right).