Improving our understanding of forest-road effects on substrate in headwater streams of the Southwest Crown of the Continent

Science Center Objects

In 2010, Congress established ten decade-long Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program projects to carry out fuel reduction and ecological restoration treatments on public lands across the country. The Southwest Crown of the Continent was selected as one of the locations under this initiative, given the importance of this region to the economic vitality of local communities and the conservation value of extant aquatic (e.g., bull trout) and terrestrial (e.g., grizzly bears) species. The costs of landscape restoration predicate the need to prioritize activities according to their relative influence on the overall watershed condition. This project focuses on developing empirical relationships between forest road erosion and the quality of instream substrate. Stream substrate influences the condition of multiple trophic levels and impaired substrate can affect salmonid populations at multiple life stages. Results will help guide restoration activities and identify sampling intensities to accurately detect biologically-relevant changes in substrate quality.