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Northwest Forest Plan — The first 25 years (1994–2018): Watershed condition status and trends

June 15, 2023

This report describes status and trends in watershed condition across the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) area over the first 25 years since its inception in 1994. The program charged with this task is the Aquatic and Riparian Effectiveness Monitoring Program (AREMP), which has assembled information from field data collection, spatial datasets, and a host of landscape models to evaluate the status and trends in aquatic resources in streams and watersheds. Field data included hydrologic measurements (stream wetted widths and temperatures), geomorphic responses (instream wood and sediment), and biological responses (macroinvertebrates and aquatic organism passage). Novel statistical models were used to estimate trends in these measured responses. A suite of complementary modeled results was also employed to describe hydrometeorological drivers (e.g., drought indices and stream discharge), forest cover (upslope and riparian vegetation), and geomorphic conditions (e.g., road-related estimates of chronic and shallow landslide sediment delivery risk). Collectively, information on these responses allowed us to rigorously evaluate instream responses and hypothesize watershed drivers of those responses across the NWFP area and over time. The majority of responses we observed indicated widespread and incremental improvements from active management of forests, forest roads, and road-stream crossings as envisioned by the aquatic conservation strategy of the NWFP. Additionally, many of the responses we observed were consistent with those expected under the influences of changing climates in the Pacific Northwest. Ultimately, the long-term, broad-scale information provided by AREMP is a critical foundation for evaluating the effectiveness of federal land management and the effects of changing climates on water resources that sustain the Pacific Northwest’s human and natural landscapes.

Publication Year 2023
Title Northwest Forest Plan — The first 25 years (1994–2018): Watershed condition status and trends
DOI 10.2737/PNW-GTR-1010
Authors Jason B. Dunham, Christine Hirsch, Sean Gordon, Rebecca L. Flitcroft, Nathan Chelgren, Marcía N. Snyder, David P Hockman-Wert, Gordon H. Reeves, Heidi V. Andersen, Scott K. Anderson, William A. Battaglin, Tom A. Black, Jason Brown, Shannon Claeson, Lauren Hay, Emily D. Heaston, Charles H. Luce, Nathan Nelson, Colin Penn, Mark Raggon
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Series Title Technical Report
Series Number PNW-GTR-1010
Index ID 70245099
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Colorado Water Science Center; Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center; Washington Water Science Center