Call for input on Collawash River map

Use this forum to report and discuss trails in need of maintenance. This will help organizations like TKO and agencies like the Forest Service get the most recent on-the-ground trail conditions.
greenjello85
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by greenjello85 » November 2nd, 2014, 11:59 am

I stand corrected and consider me shocked:) It does seem to be that the river is a historically turbid river due to the steep terrain and landslides. Here's the link to that analysis: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC ... 036573.pdf It's pretty interesting. I was thinking of the actual sediment being washed from the road surfaces but the main problems seem to be from the increased peak flow volumes caused by the roads/ditches acting like extra stream beds. The report also highlights the more obvious sources of increased sediment such as road cuts into hillsides and clear cutting. The surface sediments are mentioned but as a lesser source. I can only imagine what the river will look like this year with all the logging activity that is going on up there.

mcds
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by mcds » November 2nd, 2014, 12:25 pm

mkrochta wrote:
greenjello85 wrote:
mkrochta wrote: While regeneration is a goal of road decommissioning, the most significant reasoning behind doing this kind of thing is reducing impacts to water quality and fish. Many spur roads in the forest were built very hastily long ago to access timber, and weren't meant to be left open as long as they have been. De-compacting the roadbed helps water percolate down into the soil, instead of collect and wash sediment into nearby streams, causing culverts to blow out, or even contributing to landslides.

And while a road may only be 20 feet wide, in MHNF there are roughly 3,000 miles of these roads, and its been well agreed on in the science and forest management community that these 20 foot wide roads pose the most significant threat to water quality and soils in the forest.

Along with this, the majority of forest wildlife are hindered by roads, since they can fragment their habitat connectivity significantly.
I think the amount of resources needed to fully decommission a road could be better used in other areas. Over time the road bed would be broken up anyways. Not that high sediment levels are really an issue in this area to begin with. I would be shocked if any studies found that the turbidity of the collawash is hindering fish levels.

I don't really believe that any of the roads being proposed for removal, pose any real barrier to wildlife. They are gravel roads that see almost no traffic.

I do agree with your point that removing spur roads will help limit illegal activities though. But again this could be accomplished by blocking the entrances to these roads rathering than spending a huge amount of resources breaking apart the road surface.
From the USFS Collawash Watershed Analysis:
"Turbidity levels in the Collawash are consistently higher and persist longer when compared to any other streams in the Clackamas."

“Currently, there is a greater amount of sediment production and delivery sites than what existed under the reference sediment regime. Many upland forested sites that were not sediment sources in the past are now sites of chronic production; most can be directly attributed to roads” (3-8).

The attached photo shows the confluence of the Collawash and Clackamas Rivers during the wet season.
Note the color differences between the water coming from the Collawash (far) and the Clackamas (near).

As for fish, it's been well agreed-upon for at least 20 years that sediment has been one of the leading causes in unstable and declining fish populations in forests.

Glad these topics are getting some thoughtful discussion. It's true, money spent on roads COULD get spent elsewhere, but for now the USFS is struggling with the amount of road-related issues at hand; that's why they sometimes cut their losses and remove roads - so they can help ensure that later, these funds that would be spent on repairs and maintenance can be spent on other valuable things.

Image
great post

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Koda
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by Koda » November 4th, 2014, 11:10 am

crickets and silence. I didn’t think my questions would be responded to from Bark….
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mkrochta
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by mkrochta » November 4th, 2014, 11:37 am

Koda wrote:crickets and silence. I didn’t think my questions would be responded to from Bark….
Hello Koda - sorry for the delay, I've been in the forest the last couple days. Glad you followed up.

To answer your question about wildlife and roads, the science around this is overly-plentiful. Not just for deer and elk. Fragmentation is a basic concept in ecology. For example, fragmentation effects species like spotted owls who depend on large areas of closed-canopy forest so they can avoid predation by growing numbers of other "edge" species, like Barred owls. This goes for a whole group of birds who are adapted to uninterrupted dispersal range. Arboreal mammals, like flying squirrels and red tree voles are in the same boat. Amphibians and aquatic organisms obviously can't cross roads all that well, even when culverts (which are often left ineffective due to lack of funds) are in place.

I'd suggest folks do a quick google scholar search for road effects on wildlife, but let me know if you have more questions.

Your comment on tertiary roads is an important one. And thank you for pointing it out. As you know, there are a LOT of these roads on public lands forests. I think "what we're doing" to address other groups is bringing some of our ideas to the upcoming TAP open houses to share, and encouraging ALL groups to participate, since it's really not us (a small non-profit) that is making the ultimate decision on these roads, it's your government. The reason I posted the map on this website to get information on access, "particularly hiking," is because I figured this would be the best place to ask about those specific access needs.

Koda, are there particular roads you see on this map which are red that you use, which I can change back to black? If you don't feel comfortable sharing that information here, I would really like to encourage you to come to the meeting in Estacada tomorrow if you can or post a comment on these roads on the USFS website (see previous post for links).

mkrochta
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by mkrochta » November 4th, 2014, 12:08 pm

Another thing: there was a request earlier on for a map that included the roads the USFS proposed to decommission in the Collawash in 2011. Although I don't have the tools on me today to incorporate these into the Bark map, I thought for now it would be helpful to post a link to some other maps showing these roads in the Collawash:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsint ... ject=29386

Look to "Appendix E - Maps of Alternative 4". This is the alternative the USFS chose to pursue ultimately.
That said, keep in mind again that not all of these roads are gone for good yet.

Hope this helps clarify things.

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Koda
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by Koda » November 4th, 2014, 2:07 pm

mkrochta,

Thank you for the follow-up and the direction to learn more on habitat fragmentation and road effects.

I cant go to the meeting because I had no idea it was taking place except for this thread which is too short of notice. Admittingly, I can’t speak directly for specific roads in the Collawash area being discussed as this isn’t my side of town and I’ve only been out there a handful of times none of which are recently…. I can only speak generally I was just bringing up the point of the other forest users that depend on tertiary roads. As a hunter I do support improving wildlife habitat and have no problem hiking farther to hunt, but over the years I notice the trend of less and less vehicle access to large remote areas of public lands which is concerning. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the ‘regulars’ who do use those roads to speak up on specific roads… if, unlike myself until now, are aware of the proposals to decommission them and public meetings.

So I did a quick look at a topo map of the general area, from my laymans perspective I notice some of the tertiary roads (“red”) that do not cross any streams. What would be the impact of leaving those roads open to vehicle travel? Would they still affect wildlife fragmentation enough (collectively)? Another question in regards to funding issues, is there any reason tertiary roads should not remain open to drive but with no maintenance? (if they become impassable naturally, so be it…). What about a "green dot" travel management system with perhaps some roads open seasonally for hunting? My apologies for too many questions all at once, but I do appreciate that you have taken the time to reply...
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mcds
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by mcds » November 4th, 2014, 4:53 pm

mkrochta - to keep things concrete, what is an example of a species that is being fragmented by the roads in the Collawash? I'm not disagreeing with the concept of fragmentation, but I am doubtful that the Collawash roads are causing any fragmentation per-se. So I'm just asking for an example.

I can imagine how the Collawash roads might reduce the stirring of the gene pools of some species, but not to a point of fragmentation. Seems to me that the issue is really about keeping the gene pools large enough to be healthy. For an extreme example, the wolves on Isle Royale:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8Kc5TnDSlY

But given 'global climate change' I would think several small pools (or reduced stirring in a large pool) would be better than one large well stirred pool because a small pool can adopt a genetic adaptation more quickly compared to a large pool. Populations that don't adapt will die out, opening up that that habit to colonization from the adapted population. Small pools risk inbreeding, so there is a trade off.

mkrochta
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by mkrochta » November 4th, 2014, 5:17 pm

mcds wrote:But given 'global climate change' I would think several small pools (or reduced stirring in a large pool) would be better than one large well stirred pool because a small pool can adopt a genetic adaptation more quickly compared to a large pool. Populations that don't adapt will die out, opening up that that habit to colonization from the adapted population. Small pools risk inbreeding, so there is a trade off.
Like numerous other species adapted to living in forests, northern spotted owls need hundreds of connected, intact acres to reproduce successfully and maintain viable populations in a given area. Not several small pools. Although I get what you're trying to say, this is a bit over broad. http://www.fws.gov/wafwo/species/Fact%2 ... Ofinal.pdf
There are several spotted owl activity centers in the Collawash watershed, all intersected by roads.

I'm going to try to get to some of Koda's questions soon, but now and for the next couple days I have to sign-off and get back to the forest.

I really want to encourage folks again to take a peek at the map and see where they see themselves on it. I've really appreciated the feedback on access I've gotten so far, thanks!!

mcds
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by mcds » November 4th, 2014, 5:23 pm

The 6 page Spotted Owl PDF does not contain the word 'road'

One more question. Can you look up the day/month/year of the photo
you posted? If not, then if you post a link to the original image file, the
exif data probably has the date and I could look it up there. Thanks.

Image
Last edited by mcds on November 4th, 2014, 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Koda
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Re: Call for input on Collawash River map

Post by Koda » November 4th, 2014, 5:41 pm

mkrochta wrote:I'm going to try to get to some of Koda's questions soon, but now and for the next couple days I have to sign-off and get back to the forest.
mkrochta,Thank you again for the replies. I realize any reply is voluntary on your part so any dialog is appreciated.


Mcds sparked another question, I cant imagine how an owl would be fragmented by a road, let alone a seldom used tertiary road?
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