West Nose Creek, AB

Location and Physical Characteristics

  • Located in the western edge of the Prairies ecoregion, north of Calgary (51º12'40"N, 114º09'50"W); Undulating glaciated topography typical of the Prairies;
  • Elevation rage: 1100 m - 1300 m;
  • Approximately half of the basin is grass pasture and the rest is cereal crop rotation;
  • Climate is cold and semi-arid; Unlike Saskatchewan Prairies sites, this site is subjected to mid-winter snowmelt by Chinook; It represents typical conditions of Alberta Prairies;
  • Gross drainage area is 250 km2, effective drainage area is expected to be much smaller. 


  • The research site was established in 2003 as the pilot site for a community-based program for integrated management of surface and groundwater;
  • Water Survey of Canada and Alberta Environment operated a stream gauging station from 1982-1995, which was subsequently shut down due to budget cut; This is one of very few prairie creeks in Alberta that have historical gauging record. University of Calgary resurrected the gauging station in 2003 to take advantage of the historical record.

Current Science Focus and Instrumentation

  • Research activities are led by Professor Masaki Hayashi and his research group at the University of Calgary;
  • Focused studies on groundwater recharge, groundwater hydraulics, surface-groundwater interaction, snow hydrology, and sustainable watershed management;
  • Community outreach and education is also a major research focus;
  • Main research infrastructure includes: two weather stations equipped with soil moisture and temperature sensors, one eddy flux station, one stream gauging stations, two clusters of shallow groundwater monitoring wells, network of ten monitoring wells for deep aquifers;
  • Weekly to bi-weekly snow survey at the eddy-flux site since 2004.