Current Study

September 29, 2011

Comparing Water Resource and Fisheries Impacts from Contemporary Forest Management Activities with Historic Impacts in Headwater Basins of the Oregon Coast Range

The regenerated forest on Needle Branch is again ready for commercial harvest. The proposed timber harvesting plan involves two harvest units and will provide an opportunity to examine cumulative effects on water resources. This study will assess the effectiveness of current Best Management Practices (BMPs) for timber harvesting in the temperate forests of coastal Oregon.

Along with studies at Caspar Creek, California; Alto, Texas; and the Piedmont Region of the South, it provides a measure of how effective current forestry BMPs are in protecting water quality. Research at the Alsea Watersheds will address:

  • effects of forest management on physical, chemical, and biological characteristics and habitat quality in small streams with resident trout and anadromous salmon.
  • influences of changes in hydrology and water quality on fish populations.
  • effectiveness of contemporary forestry Best Management Practices (forest practice rules) compared to historic impacts measured in the same watersheds.
  • effectiveness of wood additions to streams as part of timber harvesting to improve habitat quality and fish populations.

Periodic synoptic sampling across the watersheds, additional subbasin monitoring, isotope analysis, continuous sampling at key locations, and other monitoring methods are all being used to better understand how these watersheds respond with and without management activities.

Comparative Response of Salmonids to Historical and Contemporary Commercial Timber Harvest Practices at the Watershed Scale

Alsea Watershed Study Revisited (Poster Paper)

Quality assurance project plan