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Port Alberni hydrologist delves into key features of Island’s rivers for special talk

Alberni Valley Nature Club hosting Nov. 8 presentation
Dave Reid is a hydrologist and geomorphologist based in Port Alberni, B.C. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE REID)

How much do you know about the rivers in the Alberni Valley? What about the river systems on Vancouver Island?

“Vancouver Island is known for its beaches, rainforests and to a lesser extent, its mountains,” says Dave Reid, a hydrologist and geomorphologist from Port Alberni. “Rivers rarely come to mind when conjuring up an image of the Island on which we live.

“However, these waterways are a critical feature of our landscape: they provide key ecological services, supply water for human use, and are of deep cultural significance to both settler and Indigenous populations.”

The Alberni Valley Nature Club is inviting people to learn more during a special event, Rivers of Vancouver Island: unique waterways facing a challenging future. Reid will deliver the talk on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.

Reid has more than a decade of experience in applied river and watershed management, both in the academic and private sectors. He has worked on a variety of research projects related to river and aquatic habitat impacts from forestry, wildfires and the mountain pine beetle infestation that devastated B.C. forests from 1999 to 2015.

In 2018 Reid pursued a PhD in geography from the University of B.C. For his degree he researched bedload sediment transport in mountain streams.

In his Nov. 8 presentation Reid will discuss the physical, ecological and cultural attributes that set Vancouver Island rivers apart from others in North America.

Reid will explore how the natural and human history of the Island have shaped these channels and will provide some interesting examples from around the region: why does the Somass River have such a strong salmon population? Why has the Cowichan River run into trouble so often in recent years?

“The flooding of last November highlighted some of the challenges that local rivers are facing,” Reid said, promising to talk about what the future may hold for these waterways.

Rivers of Vancouver Island takes place in the basement of the rectory beside the Christian Reformed Church, 5033 Roger St. in Port Alberni.

Admission is free; donations are welcome.

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Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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