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Improved Practices for Controlling both Point and Nonpoint Sources of Sediment Erosion from Industrial Forest Roads

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

Citation:  Pp. 301-306 in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Environmental Regulations: Proceedings of the March 11-13, 2002 Conference, (Fort Worth, Texas, USA)  701P0102.(doi:10.13031/2013.7573)
Authors:   Jeffrey C. Barrett and W.J. Conroy
Keywords:   Sediment budget, planning, surface erosion, HCP

As part of its Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), the Pacific Lumber Company is evaluating the effects of its management activities on the water quality parameters of streams within its 225,000-acre ownership. During the development of the HCP it was recognized that sediment generated from road sources (e.g., crossing failures, surface erosion) was in large enough quantities to be deleterious to aquatic habitat, a conclusion supported by subsequent watershed studies. These sediment sources contribute to exceedences of TMDLs in areas so analyzed, and will likely be important in future, planned TMDL evaluations. To address these issues, the Pacific Lumber Company has instituted the interim road management plan contained in the HCP for its 1500 miles of permanent and seasonal roads.

The interim road management plan has several measures for reducing sediment inputs to watercourses: removal or repair of at-risk stream crossings, removal of unneeded roads, storm-proofing of all permanent roads, diversion of road drainage away from watercourses, reduction or elimination of wet-weather road use and construction, and the upgrading of all seasonal roads. An intensive, annual inspection and maintenance program has also been implemented property-wide. Because these various measures are comprehensive and conservative, they have been very effective in reducing road related sediment from PALCOs lands. However, experience has shown that in aggregate these measures are operationally and economically infeasible. Thus, much scientific research is being conducted on PALCOs lands, particularly through watershed analysis and adaptive management studies, to identify alternate, less restrictive approaches that still yield significant environmental benefits. Examples of these scientific studies and their conclusions are reviewed.

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