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The Aquatic Conservation Strategy of the Northwest Forest Plan


The Aquatic Conservation Strategy of the Northwest Forest Plan



Conservation Biology: the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology 20(2): 319-329



ISSN/ISBN: 0888-8892

PMID: 16903093

DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00380.x

Implemented in 1994, the Aquatic Conservation Strategy of the Northwest Forest Plan was designed to restore and maintain ecological processes for aquatic and riparian area conservation on federal lands in the western portion of the Pacific Northwest. We used decision support models to quantitatively evaluate changes in the condition of selected watersheds. In the approximately 10 years since strategy implementation, watershed condition scores changed modestly, but conditions improved in 64% of 250 sampled watersheds, declined in 28%, and remained relatively the same in 7%. Watersheds that had the largest declines included some where wildfires burned 30-60% of their area. The overall statistical distribution of the condition scores did not change significantly, however Much of the increase in watershed condition was related to improved riparian conditions. The number of large trees (>51 cm diameter at breast height) increased 2-4%, and there were substantial reductions in tree harvest and other disturbances along streams. Whether such changes will translate into longer-term improvements in aquatic ecosystems across broader landscapes remains to be seen.

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Accession: 018148724

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