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EROSION FROM AN ESTABLISHED FOREST ROAD IN THE OUACHITA MOUNTAINS

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Watershed Management to Meet Water Quality Standards and Emerging TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Proceedings of the Third Conference 5-9 March 2005 (Atlanta, Georgia USA) Publication Date 5 March 2005  701P0105.(doi:10.13031/2013.18057)
Authors:   P.R. Busteed, D.J. Turton, and J. Nettles
Keywords:   Erosion, sediment, forest roads, forest road erosion, WEPP

Roads have often been identified as the greatest long-term source of sediment from forest management activities. However, only two past studies have measured forest road erosion in the Ouachita Mountain region. Soil erosion from two segments of a 25 year old industrial forest road was measured for 76 storms through an 18 month period. The 2 hillslope road segments were 113 and 102 m in length, had slopes of 4 and 6 %, had crowned surfaces and were constructed of native materials. Total rainfall for the period was 1,571 mm and was below normal. Individual storms ranged in depth from 2 to 76 mm. Individual storm erosion for the 2 segments was 7,050 kg ha-1yr-1. This rate was lower than what was reported in previous studies on newly established roads in the Ouachita Mountains. The WEPP model (Watershed version) was run for each of the 76 storms on both road segments. Measured road characteristics, soil texture and rainfall as well as values provided by the U.S. Forest Service WEPP Roads database were used as input parameters for WEPP. The average annual erosion predicted by WEPP (6,500 kg ha-1yr-1) was reasonably similar to the observed measurements. However, the storm runoff predicted by WEPP was nearly half the observed measured runoff. Despite this drawback, measurements and models are valuable tools that can be used to assist managers in determining the contribution of forest road erosion to the development of sediment TMDLs.

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