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Assessing effects of changing land use practices on sediment loads in Panther Creek, north coastal California

June 21, 2011

Revisions to the California Forest Practice Rules since 1974 were intended to increase protection of water quality in streams draining timber harvest areas. The effects of improved timber harvesting methods and road designs on sediment loading are assessed for the Panther Creek basin, a 15.4 km2 watershed in Humboldt County, north coastal California. We compute land use statistics, analyze suspended sediment discharge rating curves, and compare sediment yields in Panther Creek to a control (unlogged) stream, Little Lost Man Creek. From 1978 to 2008, 8.2 km2 (over half the watershed) was clearcut and other timber management activities (thinning, selection cuts, and so forth) affected an additional 5.9 km2. Since 1984, 40.7 km of streams in harvest units received riparian buffer strip protection. Between 2000 and 2009, 22 km of roads were upgraded and 9.7 km were decommissioned, reducing potential sediment production by an estimated 40,000 m3. Road density is currently 3.1 km/km2. Sediment rating curves from 2005 to 2010 indicate a decrease in suspended sediment concentrations when compared to the pre-1996 period, although Panther Creek still has a higher sediment yield on a per unit area basis than the control stream.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Assessing effects of changing land use practices on sediment loads in Panther Creek, north coastal California
DOI
Authors Mary Ann Madej, Greg Bundros, Randy Klein
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70156441
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center

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