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Contributions of Road Surface Sediment to a Western Washington Stream

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This study examined the input of sediment from a gravel-surfaced road to a small western Washington stream to determine to what extent this material deposited on the streambed or intruded into the gravels used by salmonids for spawning. Sediment deposition occurred only during periods of low flow and was flushed from the system with even modest increases in stream discharge. There was no significant difference in the level of fine sediment (<2 mm) in gravels above and below the input point. The predominant reason for the lack of deposition or intrusion of this material was the small size of the road sediment, 80 percent, by weight, being finer than 0.004 mm. Less than 10 percent of the fine sediment in the streambed was finer than 0.063 mm. The size of the material delivered to the stream was likely limited by the gentle gradient of and vegetation in the roadside ditches. Forest Sci. 31:827-838.

Keywords: Sediment intrusion; sediment transport; spawning gravel

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Aquatic Ecologist, Western Forestry Research Center, Weyerhaeuser Company, Centralia, WA 98531

Publication date: 1985-12-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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