Research Interests​

My main research interests are: (1) the effect of landscape disturbance (e.g. forestry, agriculture, mining, urbanization, wildfire, climate change) on the behaviour, fluxes and fate of water, sediment and chemicals in the environment at a range of time and space scales; and (2) the development of appropriate information and advice for improved management of land and water resources. Specific interests include:

  • Landscape disturbances on aquatic systems
  • Effects of wildfire and forest disturbance on soil erosion and sediment fluxes
  • Sediment sources, transport, storage and budgets
  • Sediment management in river basins
  • Environmental fallout radionuclides and other environmental tracers
  • Sediment source fingerprinting
  • Nutrients and contaminants in soils, sediment and water
  • Mountain geomorphic processes
  • Ecology-water-sediment interactions

Selection of present and recent research projects

Forest Renewal British Columbia (FRBC)Endowed Research Chair Operating Grant. This supports several projects including: sediment fingerprinting in Canadian watersheds; radionuclides in proglacial environments; impacts of wildfire on soil erosion and fine-grained sediment dynamics in forested aquatic systems; composition and quality of urban street sediment in Prince George and its impact on air and water quality. Duration: 2007 – ongoing.

British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BC-SRIF)Tsecmenúl̓ecwem-kt (We Repair the Land) - Deadman Recovery & Resiliency Initiative. Project team: Skeetchestn Indian Band (Principal Investigator, PI), Pacific Salmon Foundation, BC Ministry of Forests, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), UNBC, Thompson Rivers University, University of British Columbia, Secwepemc Fisheries Commission, Urban Systems, Palmer Consultants. Duration: 2023 – 2026.

British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BC-SRIF)Evaluating Climate Change Scenarios for the Quesnel Watershed to Determine Flood, Fire and Temperature Risks Posed to Upper Fraser Salmon Stock. Project team: UNBC (Stephen Déry, Peter Jackson, Phil Owens, Ellen Petticrew (PI)), University of British Columbia (Bernard Laval), Fisheries and Ocean Canada (Dan Selbie, Svein Vagle). Duration: 2023 – 2026.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Complementary Measures Program via Artemis Gold Inc. – Evaluating Watershed Disturbances that Affect Fish in the Upper Fraser River. Project team: UNBC (Stephen Déry, Eduardo Martins, Phil Owens) and EcoFish Consulting. Duration: 2024 – 2026.

NSERC Discovery GrantAdvancing Techniques to Fingerprint Sediment Sources in Disturbed Watersheds. Duration: 2018 – 2024.

Nechako Environmental Enhancement Fund (NEEF)Integrated Watershed Research in the Nechako River Basin: Phases 1 to 3. Project team: UNBC (Stephen Déry, Eduardo Martins, Phil Owens, Margot Parkes and Ellen Petticrew; co-PIs). Duration: 2014 – 2025.

Environment and Climate Change Canada, Environmental Damages Fund Evaluating the Resiliency of Aquatic Ecosystems to a Catastrophic Mine Tailings Spill Event: the 2014 Mount Polley Incident in the Quesnel River Watershed, British Columbia: Phases 1 and 2 and extension. Project team: UNBC (Stephen Déry, Phil Owens, Ellen Petticrew (PI)), UBC (Sue Baldwin, Bernard Laval), U of Lethbridge (Greg Pyle), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Eddy Carmack, Dan Selbie, Svein Vagle). Duration 2016 – 2023.

NSERC Collaborative Research and Development GrantContributions of Climate Change and Hydro-Electric Regulation to the Variability and Change of Freshwater-Marine Coupling in the Hudson Bay System. Project team: University of Manitoba (David Barber (PI) and others), UNBC (Stephen Déry, Phil Owens and Ellen Petticrew), University of Quebec, Trent University, University of Laval, and other institutions.  Duration: 2015 – 2019.

Canada Foundation for Innovation (John R Evans Leaders Fund)Infrastructure to Support Innovations in Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Research. Project team: University of Manitoba (David Lobb, PI) and UNBC (Phil Owens, co-PI). Duration 2014 – 2018.

Environment Canada, Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund (LWBSF)Designing and Managing Riparian Areas to Filter Phosphorus and Sediment. Project team: UNBC (Phil Owens, PI) and University of Manitoba (David Lobb). Duration: 2013 – 2017.

Selection of Present and Recent Graduate Students and Researchers

  • Dr Leticia Gaspar (Post-doctoral research associate)
  • Dr David Gateuille (Post-doctoral research associate)
  • Dr Kristen Kieta ((Post-doctoral research associate)
  • Dr Neil Williams (Post-doctoral research associate)
  • Barry Booth (Research Manager, co-supervised with Déry, Parkes, Petticrew)
  • Bruno Sobral (Research Manager, co-supervised with Déry, Martins, Parkes)
  • Todd French (Research associate, co-supervised with Ellen Petticrew)
  • Jordan Lindgren (Research associate, co-supervised with Ellen Petticrew)
  • Masoud Goharrokhi (PhD student, co-supervised with David Lobb)
  • Kristen Kieta (PhD student, co-supervised with Ellen Petticrew)
  • Alex Koiter (PhD student, co-supervised with Ellen Petticrew)
  • Dominic Reiffarth (PhD student, co-supervised with Ellen Petticrew)
  • Kristina Anderson (MSc student)
  • Katrina Caley (MSc student)
  • Kristen Kieta (MSc student)
  • Mike Leggat (MSc student)
  • Gabrielle Lint (MSc student, co-supervised with Ellen Petticrew)
  • James Rankin (MSc student, co-supervised with Faran Ali)
  • Michael Samoil (MSc student, co-supervised with Faran Ali)
  • Ty Smith (MSc student)
  • Richelle Sussbauer (MSc student)
  • Jason Vanrobaeys (MSc student, co-supervised with Michael Campbell)
  • Aaron Zwiebel (MSc student, co-supervised with Ellen Petticrew)