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Use of Natural Temperature Patterns to Identify Achievable Stream Temperature Criteria for Forest Streams

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Almost 90% of the streams listed on the EPA's nationwide database as water-quality impaired for temperature are in the Northwest. Historic records, monitoring of streams in federal wilderness areas in Oregon, and available data for least-impaired streams in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho show that many of these streams cannot achieve state temperature criteria. Forest management often is cited as a cause for increased stream temperature above state standards. The expectation that all forested streams should be below state targets has led to unnecessary listing of streams as impaired, wasting limited watershed protection resources. State water-quality programs should base water temperature criteria on natural patterns of stream temperature and on factors that have biological relevance to beneficial uses. West. J. Appl. For. 19(4):252–259.

Keywords: Fish habitat; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest practices; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; least-impaired streams; natural resource management; natural resources; temperature; water quality

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. P.O. Box 458 Corvallis OR 97339-0458 Phone: (541) 752-8801;, Fax: (541) 752-8806, Email: 2: Plum Creek Timber Company PO Box 216 Toledo OR 97391 3: Weyerhaeuser Company 785 N 42nd Street Springfield OR 97478

Publication date: 2004-10-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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