Effects of forest roads on surface and subsurface flow in southeast Alaska Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2v23vx476

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  • Well water levels and ditch flow were used to evaluate road-induced changes in surface and subsurface flow for two sites (Trocadero and Polk) in southeast Alaska. At the Trocadero Site, low water levels before and peak water levels during a storm were used to test for differences in subsurface water levels above and below an existing road. Low water levels at the Trocadero Site were significantly different in the wells above verses below the road (p = 0.02). However, peak water levels above and below the road showed no significant difference (p = 0.25). Low water levels before and peak water levels during a storm were used to test for changes in subsurface water levels pre- and post-road construction at the Polk Site. Four storms were measured prior to road construction. Thirty-one storms were measured following road construction. Using an Antecedent Precipitation Index, fifteen storms from the post-road construction dataset were selected that were within similar moisture conditions as the pre-road storms. After road construction there was no significant change in low water levels. There was a small (0.08 m and 0.05 m), but significant (p = 0.01 and 0.03), decrease in the peak water levels following road construction. Ditch flow measured on two forested hillslopes showed that road cutbanks intercepted roughly 100% of the area precipitation from upsiope contributing areas. Due to shallow soils, and excessive amounts of precipitation during the late summer and fall, much of the precipitation falling on the forest floor becomes shallow subsurface flow between the organic and mineral soil interface. The amounts of road-intercepted flow do not translate into equivalent changes in subsurface water levels, rather the changes in subsurface water levels are typically minimal. Where changes do occur, they tend to be concentrated immediately above the cutbank and below the road fillslope.
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