Carnation Creek is a long-term, multi-disciplinary case study of the effects of forestry practices on a small coastal watershed. Carnation Creek is a small stream, 7.8 km long, that drains an area of 11 km2. The study uses an intensive, pre-treatment vs. post-treatment-impact design that currently consists of five years of pre-harvest baseline data (1970/71-1975), six years of observations from 1976-1981 when 41% of the basin was harvested, and 27 years of post-harvest studies. Another 25% of the basin was harvested in headwater areas remote from the main stream channel in the 1990s. The study features both clearcut (Tributary H) and control (Tributary C) sub-basins. Riparian forestry treatments vary from intensive clearcutting to variable-width riparian buffers. The overall purpose of this study is to determine the mechanisms, rates, and levels of forestry-related impacts and recovery in a harvested coastal drainage by quantifying long-term changes in biological and physical watershed processes. We are currently determining the mid-term (25-30 years) post-harvest responses to logging practices from the condition and attributes of the hydrologic regime, second-growth forests, hillslopes, stream channel network, riparian forest canopy, aquatic habitats (mainstream and tributaries), water temperatures, and salmon populations. Fish population responses measured include long-term trends in abundance, growth, age structure, survival, and smolt production.
We integrate component studies of hillslope, stream channel, floodplain, and riparian processes to describe and model functional linkages and determine the ultimate consequences for channel morphology, aquatic habitats, and fish. Core data collected annually are provided to our research team and partners for applications that include the on-going development and refinement of basin-scale models for hydrology, landslide prediction, sediment and debris budgets, channel changes, and fish habitat capability. The information gained is relevant for validating current forest practices and supporting forest policy, regulatory, and guideline development that promotes the sustainable use of forest resources, and protects watershed processes and aquatic values. This study provides key validation-research support for the B.C. Forest and Range Effectiveness Evaluation Program (FREP), FRPA implementation, and for the MFR?s Future Forest Ecosystems Initiative for climate change adaptation.
Key Research Questions: Our 38-year datasets provide the necessary framework required to directly address the following questions directly relevant to forestry and watershed management:
(1) What is the cumulative effect of harvesting beyond specific levels (i.e., 65% basin harvest)?
(2) What is the effect on channel morphology and aquatic (e.g., salmon) habitats in both larger streams and their smaller tributaries when the riparian vegetation is removed or modified?
(3) What biological changes result from these altered stream habitats?
(4) How long do these physical and biological changes persist?
The results of our research will be applied to address these long-standing issues around fish-forestry interactions and riparian and watershed management. As such, we expect to contribute information useful as reference materials for forestry professionals who are responsible for delivering desirable management outcomes pursuant to British Columbia?s result?s-based Forest and Range Practices Act.
Focus for 2009-2010: The key research question for 2009-2010 continues from 2007-2008 and the previous year. Within the current 3-year program, we have a unique opportunity to determine and directly quantify the ultimate effects of a massive pulse of sediment and debris on the entire mainstream channel and its anadromous salmon habitats and to measure resultant impacts on fish populations. Illustrating hillslope-channel connections, these materials originated from forestry-associated landslides and debris torrent ...
Bird, Steve A.. 2010. Carnation Creek - Forestry impacts and watershed recovery processes in a small coastal drainage. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2010MR312
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), British, Columbia
To copy the URL of a document, Right Click on the document title, select "Copy Shortcut/Copy Link", then paste as needed. Only documents available to the public have this feature enabled.