Snow Management Practices for Increasing Soil Water Reserves in Frozen Prairie Soils

by D. M. Gray, Univ of Saskatchewan, Div of, Hydrology, Saskatoon, Sask, Canada,
R. J. Granger, Univ of Saskatchewan, Div of, Hydrology, Saskatoon, Sask, Canada,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Watershed Management in the Eighties


It is demonstrated that stubble management practices can be used to increase snowcover accumulations in the Canadian Prairies. However, the potential for significant increasing soil water reserves in uncracked, frozen soils by managing snow is usually limited because of refreezing of the infiltrating meltwater in the soil. The importance of the air-filled, macropore content (non-capillary pores) of a frozen soil at the time of melt to snowmelt infiltration is stressed. Field data are presented which show major increases in infiltration to cracked, heavy lacustrine clay soils and in soils that were subsoiled. The need for combining some mechanical treatment, subsoiling or other, with a snow management practice so as to enhance infiltration to a frozen soil is emphasized.

Subject Headings: Frozen soils | Soil water | Infiltration | Snow | Clays | Subsoils | Soil treatment | Cavitation

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