Graduate Project

 

Laws, regulations, and management plans to improve streamflow and stream temperature : a case study in the North Fork Burnt River Watershed Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/rj430962j

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  • As the western United States faces warmer and increasingly varied climate conditions, as well as predicted water insecurity, concerns over water quality and water availability are growing. While humans, fish, and wildlife are dependent on clean water for survival in the present, management of water resources needs to consider future generations as well. In order to protect water quality and streamflow, federal- level laws and regulations provide an overarching framework for State and local governments to operate under. Further, important public resources originate from National forests and other public lands governed by federal agency land and resources management planning. This capstone project explored the effectiveness of a management plan on improving streamflow and stream temperature. Examining the case study of the North Fork Burnt River Watershed in northeastern Oregon, will allow a better understanding of how plans improved stream temperature and streamflow, answering the question to date, Have management plans effectivity been implemented as they were intended to improve water quality and water resources in the case study area? A review of the Wallowa- Whitman National Forest Land and Resources Management Plan (WWFMP) (1990), the guiding document for managing watershed resources in the North Fork Burnt River Watershed (NFBR), as well as federal and state-level laws and regulations, identified expectations and metrics of success for improvements. Additionally, analysis of long-term stream temperature and streamflow data determined whether expectations are being met for streams within the NFBR Watershed, or if there is a need for additional restoration efforts and what restoration strategies might be most effective. Key findings of the data analysis results and the desktop review indicate a lack of improvements for both streamflow and stream temperatures for the case study area, and a need for additional restoration efforts. While some improvements to stream temperature have been made in tributary streams, the recent temperature decreases reflect localized environmental and land management changes and the monitoring data points to potential strategies for restoration such as riparian enhancement, channel reconstruction, and the supported establishment and expansion of beaver. Each restoration strategy serves to improve either streamflow or stream temperature and have unique ecological benefits as well as challenges. Importantly, sustainable management of watershed resources, and planning for future generations, must take into account a variety of strategies and actions to address local concerns while promoting ecological, economic, and social adaptability to climate change and natural disasters.
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Table of Contents
  • 1. Introduction...................................................................................................................................1 1.1 Statement of the Problem........................................................................................................1 1.2 Historical Context ...................................................................................................................2 1.3 Regional Context ....................................................................................................................2 1.4 Research Questions.................................................................................................................3 1.5 Purpose of this Study ..............................................................................................................4 2. Methods and Materials..................................................................................................................5 2.1 Desktop Review ......................................................................................................................5 2.2 Data Analysis..........................................................................................................................5 2.2.1 Quality Assurance.......................................................................................................6 3. Desktop Review ............................................................................................................................8 3.1 Important Federal Legislation for Water Resources Management.........................................8 3.2. State Clean Water Act Authority .........................................................................................13 3.3 Wallowa-Whitman Land and Resource Management Plan, 1990........................................15 3.3.1 Forest Plan Resources Summary ..............................................................................16 3.3.2 Measures of Success: Desired Future Conditions of the Forest for Riparian and Water Resources ................................................................................................................17 4. Case Study: North Fork Burnt River Watershed ........................................................................20 4.1 North Fork Burnt River Watershed Overview......................................................................20 4.1.1 Geographical Location..............................................................................................20 4.1.2 Water Quality and Streamflow .................................................................................20 4.1.3 Climate and Hydrology.............................................................................................22 4.1.4 Soil............................................................................................................................23 4.1.5 Vegetation.................................................................................................................24 4.1.6 Management Indicator Species & Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species.25 4.1.7 Designated Beneficial Uses ......................................................................................26 4.2 Monitoring Locations ...........................................................................................................27 5. Results.........................................................................................................................................30 5.1 Streamflow ............................................................................................................................30 5.2 Stream Temperature .............................................................................................................34 5.2.1 Site Specific Results .................................................................................................38 5.3 Summary of Conditions ........................................................................................................45 5.4 Data Limitations ..................................................................................................................47 6. Hypotheses Findings...................................................................................................................49 7. Discussion...................................................................................................................................51 8. Restoration Strategies for Improving Streamflow and Stream Temperature .............................54 8.1 Sustainability in Resource Management...............................................................................54 8.2 Riparian Enhancement, Channel Reconstruction and Floodplain Connectivity...................55  Table Page 14 8.2.1 Ecological Benefits...................................................................................................56 8.2.2 Challenges to Riparian Enhancement, Channel Reconstruction and Floodplain Connectivity.......................................................................................................................57 8.3 Supported Establishment of Beaver......................................................................................57 8.3.1 Ecological Benefits...................................................................................................58 8.3.2 Challenges to Beaver Establishment ........................................................................61 9. Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................64 Bibliography ...................................................................................................................................66 Appendices......................................................................................................................................72
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