Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences
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Long-term suspended-sediment concentration and load records are available for 23 Water Survey of Canada sediment-monitoring stations in the Saskatchewan River basin, where the drainage areas range from 10 to over 300 000 km2. Mean annual sediment yield is greatest in the western Alberta Plains along the Oldman and Red Deer rivers (over 100 t km−2 year−1) and tends to increase downstream along the North and South Saskatchewan rivers until major reservoirs in Saskatchewan intervene. Average sediment concentration shows a pattern of variation similar to that of yield. Temporal aspects of suspended-sediment transport vary along the drainage network. The range and skewness of the yield–duration and concentration–duration curves are greater in the intermediate-size basins close to the Rocky Mountains and in two small basins with Prairie sources than they are in the large Prairie streams with mountain sources and the glacier-fed upper North Saskatchewan River. Similarly, infrequent flows transport a larger proportion of the annual load in the smaller Foothills and western Plains basins than in the large Prairie streams because of differences in drainage area and discharge regime.