Piikani Cottonwood Study of the Oldman River Valley

Project Name: Piikani Cottonwood Study of the Oldman River Valley downstream of the Old Man Dam
Study Area: Pincher Creek to Fort Mcleod
Client: Piikani First Nation
Partners: Harmony Walker (Prime Consultant), and Iris Environmental


Work Completed


In 2014 the TCS team followed up on the initial river valley mapping study to complete a study of the cotton wood communities within the Piikani Nation Territory.  The project was a repeat of a previous survey where the cotton wood communities were studied upstream and downstream of the weir to determine if there was an ecological impact associated with the weir. This project posed a number of significant challenges including difficult to access locations. No available GIS data on the locations and only rough field maps to find the ground locations. In addition each location required almost 1km of line to be cleared for access so that the cotton wood trees could be assessed. This assessment included measurements of the size, health and age of each cotton wood tree along the designated transect. This information was then statistically analyzed to determine ecological impacts. Challenges in this project revolved around access, data quality, and the difficulty aging cotton wood trees. TCS overcame all of these limitations to provide a high quality final project on budget.

IMGP5824-001Staff assigned to this project included, Clare Tannas (rangeland ecologist), Kathy Tannas (plant taxonomist), Steven Tannas (rangeland ecologist), Eileen Tannas (plant taxonomist). Steven was responsible for all mapping and historical comparisons between the plant communities over the past 60 years while the rest of the TCS team was responsible for the field assessments to ground truth the plant communities and assess their health.