Road culverts such as this can lead to erosion and landslides that contribute sediment to stream habitat.
Road culverts such as this can lead to erosion and landslides that contribute sediment to stream habitat.

This project upgraded and decommissioned approximately 25 miles of forest roads on United States Forest Service property in the Dan Creek and Sauk Prairie WAUs within the Sauk River basin. Roads have increased sediment delivery above natural levels in these WAUs, primarily by increased mass wasting rates. Poorly designed or maintained forest roads can reduce spawning and rearing habitat quality by increasing sediment delivered to streams through surface erosion and mass wasting processes. For this reason, a reduction in sediment supply is a high priority for these areas.

The objective was to reduce sediment impacts in Dan, Gravel, Dutch, Green, and Everett Creeks along with several unnamed creeks and several off-channel habitat areas including Hyachuck ponds, Dan Creek Slough, among others. The Sauk River is also likely to benefit from reduced sediment inputs.

Field inventories were used to identify and prioritize sites. Road segments were rated as high risk if they have the potential to cause a mass wasting event that could deliver sediment directly to key habitat. High risk segments were treated by upgrading or decommissioning high hazard roads. Upgrading roads involves upgrading stream crossings, adding and upgrading drainage structures, cleaning ditch lines, and removing or stabilizing hazardous fill material. Decommissioning roads involves removing all culverts, constructing water bars to increase drainage across the road, removing hazardous fill material from stream crossings and unstable slopes, and blocking the road to vehicle access. This project upgraded 10 miles of road, and decommissioned 15 miles of road to accomplish these sediment reduction goals.

Erosion caused by improper drainage over a forest road.
Erosion caused by improper drainage over a forest road.

 

Project Status/Timeline
Funding was secured in 2002. The Darrington District of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest completed the Environmental Assessment in 2002. In 2003, SRSC completed approximately 9 miles of road decommissioning. In 2005, SRSC completed an additional 4 miles of road decommissioning and 8.4 miles of road upgrade. In 2008 SRSC completed an additional 3.7 miles of road upgrades.

Primary Project Contact
Devin Smith, Senior Restoration Ecologist

Funding Sources
Salmon Recovery Funding Board
Bureau of Indian Affairs Watershed Grant
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Forest/Snohomish County Resource Advisory Committee Grant

Project Partners
United States Forest Service (Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest)