Forest Roads and Stream Crossing Workshop
Northern Counties, WI

Grantee: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry
Basin Program Funds: $21,998
Non-federal Funds: $13,726
Project Duration: 07/2003 - 07/2005
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Forest roads and stream crossings are the two largest sources of nonpoint source pollution associated with forest management activities.

In the Lake Superior Drainage Basin, the "red clay" soil type is highly erodible and unstable. Approximately half of the Lake Superior Drainage Basin has red clay soils and about 75% of the basin is forested. The problems associated with the high erosive rates of the red clays in the Lake Superior Drainage Basin have been well documented over the years. A number of initiatives have been undertaken to address this issue, with one of the earliest being the Red Clay Interagency Committee in the 1950's. Most of these initiatives have focused on farming practices and methods. In contrast, this project will focus on providing education and training to the loggers and foresters who conduct forest management activities in the red clays of the Lake Superior Drainage Basin.

We held one erosion control workshop for loggers and foresters. The workshop was a combination of on-site equipment operation and classroom. It demonstrated several temporary stream-crossing options and how logging equipment can use them and how to install water control structures, such as water bars, on forest roads with logging equipment. The planning, construction, and maintenance of forest roads was also covered. Several speakers were invited to the workshop.

The two day workshop was held June 16 - 17, 2005 in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin. Attendance was limited to 40 people to keep discussions and tours at a manageable size. Attendees included logging professionals, county forest staff, DNR forest staff and industrial forest foresters. After consulting with our partners in this project, the workshop proposal was modified to provide more detail on the design and construction of stream and wetland crossings. This change reflected the needs of loggers and foresters in the area. The workshop was extended to two days to provide enough time to cover the topics in detail, and to accommodate both classroom lectures and field visits.

For the in-field demonstrations, we focused on culverts, wooden mats and other stream and wetland crossing options. HDPE pipe bundle crossings were not used because of the difficulty in using these crossings in cold weather, short life span, and difficulty in permitting. Culverts and wooden mats were highlighted at the workshop because of the availability, durability, and ease of permitting. In addition, the wooden mats offer the added benefit of providing a temporary crossing which can be removed at the end of a forestry operation, minimizing impacts to the surrounding environment. Using wooden mats instead of HDPE pipe bundles increased supply costs but decreased equipment costs.

Topics covered at the workshop included:

  1. Stream channel formation and classification
  2. Surface and subsurface water flow in wetlands
  3. Impacts of land use changes on streams and wetlands
  4. Protecting water flow on logging sites
  5. Design and installation of stream and wetland crossings
  6. Permitting stream and wetland crossings
  7. Field identification and measurement of ordinary high water marks, bankfull elevations, wetland boundaries and other stream and wetland characteristics
  8. Field demonstration and discussion on the design and use of culverts, wooden mats and other stream and wetland crossing options
For the workshop, temporary stream and wetland crossings were installed at two locations, one at a timber sale site on privately owned land. The second was a temporary stream crossing over a navigable stream on the Brule River State Forest. This site contained a forest road with a failed permanent stream crossing. The crossings were removed following the workshop.

As part of the workshop, participants received a binder with presentation materials and a CD with presentations and additional references. The workshop also fulfilled the yearly continuing education requirement for Wisconsinís SFI Qualified Logging Professional program. A press release on this project was provided to attendees of the Outdoor Writers Association of American national conference held in June, 2005 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Contact: Mr. Darrell Zastrow, (608) 266-0290


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