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Evaluating Best Management Practices for Ephemeral Channel Protection during Forest Harvest in the Cumberland Plateau-Preliminary Findings
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.orgCitation: 2009 Reno, Nevada, June 21 - June 24, 2009 095840.
Authors: Emma L Witt, Christopher D Barton, Jeffrey W Stringer, Daniel W Bowker, Randall K Kolka
Keywords: Ephemeral channel, sedimentation, forest harvest, best management practice
Most states in the US have established forestry best management practices to protect water quality and maintain aquatic habitat in streams. However, guidelines are generally focused on minimizing impacts to perennial stream segments. Ephemeral channels, which likely function as important delivery systems for carbon, nutrients and sediment, are relatively unprotected. An examination of the effectiveness of three types of streamside management zones around ephemeral channels is currently underway at the University of Kentucky’s Robinson Forest, located on the Cumberland Plateau in southeastern Kentucky. Treatments are based on the current Kentucky Forestry Best Management Practices and include: 1) no equipment limitation with complete overstory removal and unimproved crossings, 2) no equipment limitation with retention of channel bank trees and improved crossings and 3) equipment restrictions within 7.6 m of the channel with retention of channel bank trees and improved crossings. Water samples are taken during storm flows using automated water samplers and analyzed for total suspended solids, turbidity, and settleable solids. Initial results indicate harvest operations are resulting in increased sediment movement in ephemeral channels, with equipment limitations and improved channel crossings reducing the amount of sediment, and channel overstory retention providing further reduction.