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Overview of the Caspar Creek watershed study


, : Overview of the Caspar Creek watershed study. General Technical Report PSW Pages 1-9

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) and the Pacific Southwest Research Station, Redwood Sciences Laboratory (PSW) have been conducting watershed research within the Caspar Creek watershed on the Jackson Demonstration State Forest, in northern California, since 1962. A concrete broad-crested weir with a 120 degrees low-flow V-notch was constructed in both the 473-ha North Fork and 424-ha South Fork of Caspar Creek by the late fall of 1962. Both watersheds supported predominantly secondgrowth stands of coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) averaging 700 m3 ha (super -1) of stem wood. The study has been conducted in two phases. The South Fork phase was designed as a traditional paired-watershed study and involved monitoring the impacts of road construction and selection harvesting by tractor on streamflow, suspended sediment, and bedload. Approximately one-third of the watershed was logged in each year from 1971 to 1973, starting with the most downstream area. Several publications have documented the results from (1) the calibration and roading activities (1962-1971) and (2) the logging activity and subsequent monitoring through 1976. Planning for the North Fork phase started in the early 1980's. This study phase was initiated in response to new federal legislation requiring the evaluation of cumulative watershed effects as a part of management activities. The principal objective was to test for cumulative watershed effects (CWE) resulting from timber harvesting and related activities. The North Fork became the treatment watershed and was divided into 13 sub-basins including three control watersheds to be left untreated. Ten Parshall flumes and three rated sections were installed in the watershed--one at the outflow of each of these sub-basins. A new sampling system called SALT was developed along with the necessary sampling software and hardware for implementation. Total timber volume removal in North Fork was slightly less than in the South Fork (about 50 percent); however, harvesting activities were limited to eight discrete clearcut harvest blocks ranging from 9 to 60 ha, occupying 35-100 percent of individual subwatersheds in the CWE study area. These harvest units were logged using primarily skyline cable yarding techniques. Road and landing construction and tractor logging were limited to ridgetop and upper slope locations. Auxiliary studies examining summer low flow, soil pipe flow, bedload movement, geochemical response, and biological aquatic effects were also monitored during this period. Monitoring began in 1985 and harvesting was done over a 3-year period (1989-1992). Harvesting began in the upper third of the North Fork watershed to aid in detecting the existence of possible CWE's. Monitoring was maintained at all gaging stations through hydrologic year 1995. After 1995, a long-term monitoring plan was instituted. This plan uses a subset of the gaging stations (SF, NF, A, C, D, E, H, I) to monitor the possible long-term effects of timber harvesting on stream discharge, suspended sediment, and bedload.

US$29.90


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