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USGS - science for a changing world

Anne Carlson

Abstract Unpaved forest roads remain a pervasive disturbance on public lands and mitigating sediment from road networks remains a priority for management agencies. Restoring roaded landscapes is becoming increasingly important for many native coldwater fishes that disproportionately rely on public lands for persistence. However, effectively targeting restoration opportunities requires a comprehensive understanding of the effects of roads across different ecosystems. Here, we combine a review and a field study to evaluate the status of knowledge supporting the conceptual framework linking unpaved forest roads with streambed sediment. Through our review, we specifically focused on those studies linking measures of...
Roads are often identified as sources of ecological process disruption. Roads can damage aquatic ecosystems by altering hydrologic, wood, and sediment regimes, degrade water quality, and reduce habitat suitability for aquatic biota. Often sedimentation is singled out as a premiere contributor to degradation. Over the past half century, thousands of miles of roads have been built across federal lands for a variety of purposes. In response to climate change, road restoration is considered a high priority as a means to reduce factors limiting natural processes and native species, particularly as a potential adaptation strategy to assist cold-water fish species. With an extensive road network and limited funding, managers...
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This project will support the design and development of a large-scale aquatics monitoring program across 1.5 million acres of the Crown of the Continent, as part of a 10-year, landscape-level restoration project established and funded by the U.S. Forest Service in 2010. The Forest Service has directed each of ten Cooperative Forest Landscape Restoration Program projects to develop and implement a large-scale monitoring program to inventory current resource conditions and facilitate the short- and long-term evaluation of the effectiveness of restoration projects to inform future management strategies and actions: the work proposed here would address significant challenges associated with maintaining or improving...
Summary: Over the last several decades, tens of thousands of miles of simple dirt and gravel roads have been built across forested public land in the United States. Today, managers from the U.S. Forest Service (and other federal and state agencies) have insufficient funding to maintain these roads and have been directed to begin strategically reducing road densities, despite a lack of public support in many regions. When roads are removed or stored, it is often difficult to show that these restoration treatments are cost effective and/or improve aquatic process and function at either site- or watershed-scales. Resolving these issues has become an increasingly urgent matter for managers across the western United...
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