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Critique of Washington's watershed analysis program

Journal of the American Water Resources Association 33(5): 997-1010

Critique of Washington's watershed analysis program

We evaluate Washington's program of watershed analysis with respect to its goals as a cumulative effects assessment method, adaptive management, and a restoration tool. We also evaluate the program as a framework for implementing ecosystem management. A strength of the cumulative effects assessment method is in identifying and reducing the dominant, direct physical effects of forest land uses on salmonid habitat. This could be further strengthened by more emphasis on identifying problems that can be immediately remedied (e.g., identifying road erosion and landslide trigger sites; correctly locating fish-bearing waters, and identifying anthropogenic fish passage impediments). More effectively assessing and integrating changes from more than one type of input to streams, including all relevant inputs, and examining whether assumptions about those inputs are scientifically defensible, will also improve the cumulative effects assessment. Treating experimentation more formally, including placing a greater emphasis on monitoring the outcome of prescriptions, and determining the scientific defensibility and certainty level of prescriptions, will strengthen adaptive management. As a watershed restoration tool, the program needs defined goals and critical assessment methods (e.g., of historic productive capacity of aquatic habitat). To be consistent with ecosystem management, analyses need to be integrated into a larger spatial scale, and to include all relevant land uses and effects within that scale; objectives for various stream "inputs" need to be evaluated with respect to managing for ecological integrity and the ability to provide a measurable standard.

Accession: 003082311

DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.1997.tb04119.x

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