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Project completion abstract: Loftus Creek and Loftus Face, Eagle River Watershed, Kamloops Forest Region
Milne, Michael J.
The primary objectives of the Loftus Creek and Loftus Face environmental maintenance project were to: restore natural drainage patterns disturbed by old road and trail construction, reduce the risk of landslides associated with upslope drainage diversions, reduce sediment delivery to streams associated with road and ditchline erosion, protect road infrastructure, and maintain vehicle access where possible. Environmental, social, and economic values at stake include: forest resources; water quality; salmonid fish habitat in the Loftus Creek and Eagle River systems; and private property, highways and Canadian Pacific Rail (CPR) infrastructure adjacent to the Loftus Creek and Loftus Face tributary channels. Pre-implementation risk of forest resource damage, or water quality and fish habitat impairment related to landslides or other form of sedimentation was high. Risk of private property, highways, and CPR infrastructure damage associated with flooding and elevated sediment loads in the Loftus Creek and Loftus Face systems was also high. Loftus Creek and the Loftus Face tributaries are not designated community watersheds, although each are used for domestic and irrigation water purposes. The Loftus Creek and Loftus Face area has a history of forest development dating back to the early 1900?s. Trail networks were established in lower and mid-slope areas to facilitate selective caterpillar harvesting up until the early 1960?s. From 1960 to the introduction of the Forest Practices Code (FPC) in 1995, conventional road access forest harvesting was undertaken in mid and upper slope areas. Minor salvage has formed the only post-FPC activity in the area. In 1979 a large portion of the Loftus Face area, and west side of the Loftus Creek sub-basin was burned in a wildfire. Extensive road and trail networks were established for fire access and salvage purposes between 1960 and 1995, with limited effort applied to water management. Widespread road and trail erosion occurred over this period accompanied by numerous landslides and debris flows throughout the area. Naturally high runoff in the spring of 1997 mobilized large volumes of road erosion and landslide related sediment, stored in Loftus Creek and the Loftus Face tributaries. The bulk of this material was deposited in lower slope alluvial fan areas where channel avulsions (re-direction) occurred with associated damage to private property, highways, the CPR mainline, and fish spawning and rearing habitat. Some deactivation was undertaken on lower and mid-slope FSR?s following this event, but non-status roads and trails remained intact in upslope areas. Non-status roads and trails are the subject of this environmental maintenance project. No roads or trails assessed, prescribed, or treated in this project traverse areas with a moderate or high likelihood of landslides.
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