Dorian Turner

Bachelor of Science (Ecology), University of Calgary


Supervisor: Dr. Randall Peterman

Areas of research interest: instream flow needs, fish biology, hydroelectric developments, water resources

Project title: Instream flow assessment methods for high-gradient, complex streams typical of run-of-river hydroelectric development.

Description: Run-of-river hydroelectric projects use the natural flow and gradient of a river to produce electricity. A portion of the river’s flow is diverted out-of-channel and transported downhill to a powerhouse, where the water turns turbines, generating electricity. The river water is subsequently returned to the channel downstream from the powerhouse, restoring natural stream flow. As a result of this process, a portion of the river channel between the intake structure and the outlet from the powerhouse, often stretching several kilometers, experiences reduced flow levels. Under section 35 of the federal Fisheries Act, any “harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish” (or fish habitat) is unlawful. Therefore, as part of a hydroelectric project’s environmental impact assessment, project proponents must perform an instream flow assessment to identify critical flow levels for resident fish species. How best to assess the impacts of reduced flow levels on fish habitat is a somewhat unresolved issue. With the emergence of run-of-river hydroelectric project development by independent power producers (IPPs) as a major component of B.C.’s energy policy, there is a growing need for effective and efficient methods to assess the instream flow requirements for fish species. My research is geared towards improving current instream flow assessment practices in British Columbia. See also: Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium.

Profile: Dorian’s passion for freshwater resources began at a young age, while fly-fishing in the rivers and lakes of Western Canada. Dorian’s interest in fish led him to working as a research assistant in an aquatic ecology research lab at the University of Calgary during in his undergraduate degree. In this Lab, Dorian developed both an understanding and an appreciation for aquatic environments and the species that inhabit them. After graduating with a BSc (Ecology) from the University of Calgary, Dorian spent four years working as a fish biologist in several research and consulting positions. During his time as a field biologist, Dorian realized the importance of our fresh water resources and the extent to which they are being mismanaged. This motivated Dorian to return to for a Master’s degree within the Fisheries Science and Management Research Group in REM.