Stream Crossings for Logging Operations: A Video

Grantee: Pennsylvania State University
Basin Program Funds: $10,000
Non-federal Funds: $7,190
Project Duration: 04/1995 - 11/1996
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Erosion and sedimentation problems associated with stream crossings in forestry practices have been relatively high. While there has been some work on forest practice effects on water quality, research focusing on the sediment delivered by stream crossings for haul roads and skids trails has, until recently, been very sparse.

Crossing without bridge

Erosion and sedimentation have been identified as major sources of water quality degradation in the Great Lakes basin. Increased sediment delivery from streams entering the Great Lakes can carry excessive nutrients and toxic chemicals that can cause aesthetic, biological, physical, and chemical degradation of the Great Lakes ecosystem. The increased focus on nonpoint sources of pollution has heightened interest in the identification and control of sources of sediment from all land use activities. In Pennsylvania and throughout the Great Lakes basin, commercially valuable forests are prevalent and forest harvesting activities are common. In order to gain access to many logging sites, haul roads and skid trail networks must often be located across headwater streams and associated riparian wetlands. The common methods for crossing headwater streams include culverts with various types of fill, permanent or portable bridges and fords. Unfortunately, stream crossings, road construction, and related disturbances often result in high erosion rates especially when best management practices are not followed.

This project describes and promotes proper methods for crossing small headwater streams during logging operations to reduce erosion and impacts from sedimentation. A video presenting recently completed research at the Pennsylvania State University was prepared to increase awareness of the erosion and sedimentation problems within the Great Lakes basin by demonstrating to forestry professionals the relationship between logging practices and water quality. The video analyzes the results from several recent studies and synthesizes the information so landowners, government officials, and foresters may use it to help reduce erosion and sedimentation caused by logging activities. The video is being used as a vehicle to strengthen coalitions, coordinate efforts, and facilitate information transfer between federal, regional, state, and local conservation groups.

An 18 minute video titled Stream Crossings During Forest Harvesting Activities in the Great Lakes Basin was produced to educate forestry professionals, landowners, and the general public on proper methods of crossing streams during forest harvesting activities to minimize erosion and sedimentation.

Using portable bridge

Copies of the video have been distributed to the Cooperative Extension Water Quality Coordinator and Natural Resources Department in each of the eight Great Lakes states. An additional 60 copies of this video have been distributed to forestry professionals, Cooperative Extension offices, and state forestry departments throughout the Great Lakes region.

Contact: Bryan R. Swistock, (814) 863-0291


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner