Forest Roads and Sediment Project

PROJECT TITLE: Water Quality Impacts in Forested Watersheds of Virginia – Forest Roads

SPONSORS: Virginia Department of Forestry, College of Natural Resources and Environment, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement

PROJECT DURATION: 1 January 2011 to 3o November 2019

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: W. Mike Aust, Kevin McGuire, M. Chad Bolding, Scott Barrett

COLLABORATORS: Erik Schilling, W. Cully Hession, C. Andy Dolloff, Stephen Schoenholtz

GRADUATE STUDENTS: Kris Brown, PhD student; AJ Lang, Ph.D. student; Lindsay Nolan, M.F. student

PROJECT SUMMARY: Forests comprise over two-thirds of Virginia’s land area, thus management activities that occur in forested watersheds have great potential to influence water quality. Forested watersheds typically release clean water, yet forest roads and trails can drastically impact water quality. Increased stream sedimentation from road and skid trail crossings represent the most significant water quality threat associated with forestry operations. Hydrologic and soil erosion models have been developed to assist land managers in identifying high-risk areas for erosion and implementing appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs) for water quality protection. However, thorough evaluations have not been conducted for existing models under real field conditions. Several State and Federal organizations, including the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), the State Foresters Council for the Southeast U.S., and USDA Forest Service are interested in implementing the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model to predict forest road sediment production. We propose to directly measure surface runoff and sediment delivery ratios from forest roads during controlled field experiments in the Virginia Piedmont, and to evaluate WEPP model predictions for bare and graveled surfaces. Sediment will be collected from existing roads at stream crossings with sediment traps and automatic water sampling of surface overland flow under low, moderate, and heavy simulated rainfall events. Rainfall simulation will be applied to roads with minimum BMPs and roads with higher levels of BMPs. Additionally, monthly measurements of sediment delivery to sediment traps will be monitored with erosion pins. Field observations will be compared to model (WEPP) estimates to improve model calibration.

PUBLICATIONS:

Brown, K.R., McGuire, K.J., Hession, W.C., and Aust, W.M., 2015. Can the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model be used to evaluate BMP effectiveness from forest roads? Journal of Forestry, doi: 10.5849/jof.14-101.

Brown, K.R., McGuire, K.J., Aust, W.M., Hession, W.C., Dolloff, C.A. 2015. The effect of increasing gravel cover on forest roads for reduced sediment delivery to stream crossings, Hydrological Processes, 29(6): 1129–1140, doi: 10.1002/hyp.10232.

Brown, K. R., Aust, W. M., McGuire, K. J. 2015. Monitoring sediment production from forest road approaches to stream crossing in the Virginia Piedmont. Proceedings of the 17th biennial southern silvicultural research conference. e–Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–203. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station, pp. 73-79.

Brown, K.R., McGuire, K.J., Aust, W.M., Hession, W.C., Dolloff, C.A. 2014. The effect of increasing gravel cover on forest roads for reduced sediment delivery to stream crossings, Hydrological Processes, doi: 10.1002/hyp.10232.

Brown, K.R., Aust, W.M., McGuire, K.J., 2013. Sediment delivery from bare and graveled forest road stream crossing approaches in the Virginia Piedmont, Forest Ecology and Management, doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2013.09.031.

Brown, K.R., Aust, W.M., McGuire, K.J., 2013. Sediment associated with forest operations in the Piedmont region, In: Proceedings, 18th Central Hardwood Forest Conference, 2012 March 26-28, Morgantown, WV. General Technical Report NRS-P-117, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Newtown Square, PA, pp. 220-234.

Lang, A.J., Aust, W.M., Bolding, M.C., Barrett, S.M., McGuire, K.J., and Lakel III, W.A. 2015. Streamside management zones compromised by stream crossings, legacy gullies, and over-harvest in the Piedmont, Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 1-12, doi: 10.1111/jawr.12292.

PRESENTATIONS:

McGuire, K.J., Brown#, K.R., Aust, W.M., 2014. Can WEPP estimate BMP effectiveness from experimental forest roads, Symposium on Forestry Best Management Practice Effectiveness in the Eastern US, May 12-15, Blacksburg, VA.

Brown#, K.R., Aust, W.M., McGuire, K.J., 2014. Effectiveness of best management practices to reduce sediment delivery from reopened legacy roads at forest stream crossings, Symposium on Forestry Best Management Practice Effectiveness in the Eastern US, May 12-15, Blacksburg, VA.

Brown#, K.R., Aust, W.M., McGuire, K.J., Hession, W.C., Dolloff, C.A., 2013.Quantifying BMP effects on sediment delivery at forest stream crossings, Society of American Foresters 2013 National Convention, Oct. 25, Charlestown, SC.

Lang#, A.J.,  Aust, W.M., Bolding, M.C., McGuire, K.J., 2013. Sediment deposition from forest roads at stream crossings, Society of American Foresters 2013 National Convention, Oct. 25, Charlestown, SC.

Brown#, K.R., Aust, W.M., McGuire, K.J., Hession, W.C., Dolloff, C.A., 2013. An Evaluation of the Cost-Effectiveness of Gravel Application to Minimize Sediment Delivery from Forest Road Stream Crossing Approaches, 2013 American Water Resources Association Summer Specialty Conference, Healthly Forests = Healthy Waters, June 27-28, Hartford, CT.

Brown#, K.R., McGuire, K.J., Aust, W.M., 2013. Monitoring sediment production from forest road approaches to stream crossings in the Virginia Piedmont. Oral presentation: 17th Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference. Mar. 5-7, 2013, Shreveport, LA.

Brown#, K.R., McGuire, K.J., Aust, W.M., 2012. Runoff and sediment delivery from bare and graveled forest road approaches to stream crossings, Abstract EP13D-0881 presented at the 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, Dec. 3-7, San Francisco, CA

Brown#, K.R., W.M. Aust, McGuire, K.J., 2012. Sediment associated with forest operations in the Piedmont region. Central Hardwood Conference. West Virginia University, Division of Forestry and Natural Resources and the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. March 26 – 28, 2012, Morgantown, West Virginia.

LINKS:

 

 

 

Top