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Topics: Water quality, Water, Hydrology Pages: 21 (12058 words) Published: September 22, 2014

Research-based Principles Guiding Watershed Management

The purpose of this section is to identify various principles of watershed management that form the basis for the specific goals and implementation objectives for management of the Sudbury watershed lands during the period covered by the plan. These principles are distilled from a literature review of nearly 400 different sources, many of which are included in the Literature Cited listing at the back of this plan.


Principles of Watershed Protection

Forested watersheds generally yield higher quality water than non-forested cover types. Urban, suburban and agricultural land uses all contribute in some way to lowered water quality.

Uncontrolled human activities on water supply watersheds represent a major source of potential contamination. Efficient and effective water quality protection on both filtered and unfiltered water supplies requires control over human activities.

Watershed cover conditions differ in their regulation of certain nutrients (especially phosphorus and nitrogen); the best regulation of nutrients is provided by vigorously growing forest that is fully occupying all watershed sites.

Fire protection, police surveillance, water sampling, and other watershed management activities, including forest management, all depend upon an adequate, well-maintained road system.

The proper management and protection of wetland and riparian zones is a critical component of watershed protection.


Principles of Watershed Forest Management: General

Watershed forests can be managed in a way that provides significant benefits to long-term water quality protection, while minimizing adverse impacts during management operations.

Potential negative tributary water quality effects (including turbidity, nutrients, and streamwater temperature) resulting from forest management can be minimized or eliminated with proper road location and maintenance and proper planning and supervision of silvicultural activities.

Stands developed through uneven-aged methods will continually include some younger, shorter trees. Older trees in these stands develop stronger, more tapered stems than those grown in dense, even-aged stands. Strongly tapered trees sustain less damage from wind, and the younger component in uneven-aged stands enable them to recover from disturbance more quickly than maturing even-aged stands, thus improving their relative long-term water quality protection.

Tree species growing on sites and within climatic ranges to which they are best adapted generally will grow vigorously and persist longer, resulting in a watershed forest that requires less tending. For example, white pine will grow vigorously but is more prone to root disease and wind throw on wet sites, while red maple tolerates soil saturation and remains wind firm on the same sites.

Sudbury LMP 2005 – 2014


Research-based Principles Guiding Watershed Management


Principles of Watershed Forest Management Systems: Literature Review 3.3.1

Naturally-managed Forests

Water Yield

Tree growth and naturally occurring forest disturbances (fires, wind, disease, and insects) heavily influence the water yields from naturally-managed forests. Eschner and Satterlund (1965) studied a 491 square-mile watershed in the Adirondack Mountains of New York from 1912-1962. This study is particularly relevant to an examination of the impact of naturally-managed forests upon water yields. The land use on the watershed up to 1910 included land clearings, extensive fires, and heavy forest cuttings (chiefly logging of softwoods) that involved almost the entire watershed. In the late 1800s, the state of New York began purchasing lands in the watershed for the Adirondack Forest Preserve. From 1890 to 1910 the percentage of state-owned Forest Preserve in the watershed increased from 16% to 73%. The management policies of...

Cited: influence the water yields from naturally-managed forests. Eschner and Satterlund (1965) studied a 491
square-mile watershed in the Adirondack Mountains of New York from 1912-1962
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