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Clearcutting and burning slash alter quality of stream water in northern Idaho

Author(s): Gordon G. Snyder, Harold F. Haupt, George H. Belt
Year Published: 1975

Three cutting units of varying size, soil, and aspect located along streams in the Priest River Experimental Forest in northern Idaho were chosen for evaluation of changes in water quality caused by clearcutting and subsequent burning of slash. Water sampling stations were established on each creek-upstream, downstream, and on the site of clearcut-burned areas. Except for on-site stations, buffer strips of natural vegetation were left along channels to minimize the effects of treatment. Physical and nutrient comparisons between the upstream and downstream stations showed slight increases in electrical conductivity, bicarbonate, sulfate, calcium, and magnesium. Similar comparisons between upstream and the on-site stations revealed significant increases in pH, electrical conductivity, turbidity, suspended solids, bicarbonate, sulfate, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Nutrients that did not indicate increases for buffer strip comparisons were chloride and sodium. In general, larger increases were observed at the on-site stations, except for one station with a different drainage pattern.

Citation: Snyder, Gordon G.; Haupt, Harold F.; Belt, George H. 1975. Clearcutting and burning slash alter quality of stream water in northern Idaho. Res. Pap. INT-RP-168. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 34 p.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Water, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Fuels
Ecosystem(s): Montane wet mixed-conifer forest
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 11949
FRAMES RCS number: 14102
Record updated: May 24, 2018