Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hands down a win for Tillamook Salmon
From the Crag Law Center: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long-awaited decision on the Oregon Department of Forestry’s management of logging roads and stormwater in the Tillamook State Forest. In the western United States, logging roads are one of the worst sources of sediment pollution, which smothers salmon spawning beds and harms water quality. On the Tillamook State Forest, ODF has for years designed their roads to channel and discharge polluted stormwater from logging roads into coastal rivers and streams in the Tillamook State Forest, often times directly on top of or close to salmon spawning grounds.
Alevins spend two to eight months in river gravel.
So how do we make improvements? Native Fish Society River Steward Tom Davis shared this from a recent report:
Erosion-Sedimentation Reduction – The essentials for effectively reducing erosion and sedimentation from forest activities and projects include:
No new roads except for projects that are essential for watershed recovery, or that will not cause soil erosion and sedimentation impacts on an ephemeral, seasonal or permanent channel.
Maximum road-prism widths that reflect the soils and slopes present, and are smaller/narrower on more erodible soils and/or steeper slopes.
Accelerated decommissioning of non-essential roads to achieve road densities of < one per sq. mile.
Performing subsoiling, or “tillage”, of compacted soils for road decommissioning or revegetation of disturbed sites in ways that eliminate the potential for transport of eroded soil from the site.
Limiting the use of ATVs to roads suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles.
Soil disturbance slope limits that are specific for the soils present, ranging from 15% to 30%. Steeper sites would require enhanced mitigation measures, for examples reduced weeks of exposure, higher levels of mulching and multiple rows of silt fence. No disturbance on slopes => 30%.
Project and activity design that reduces the grading and soil disturbance area to a minimum.
A time limit in weeks on the exposure of disturbed soils, with no carryover from one activity phase to the next, and requiring a disturbance-free period during high-risk seasons of at least four (4) months.
Establishment of water management systems immediately after grading and soil disturbance begins.
Interim controls including early mulching on slopes steeper than 5 percent, revegetation and temporary sedimentation traps for the 5-year storm recurrence interval runoff.
Transitioning from natural to post-development/activity water conveyance and storage systems within one activity phase, or nine months at most.
Out sloping or in sloping of roads with ditch relief culverts every 200 feet or less.
Maintenance measures that ensure no rutting of the road surface and do not increase the fine material available for erosion.
Minimal compaction and mitigation of all compaction not essential for long-term use of a road.
Silt fences if soil disturbance is within 200 ft of an ephemeral, seasonal or permanent channel.
Sediment catchments downgradient in rills and gullies prior to any soil disturbance.
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