Carah et al 2014 low cost wood in streams

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direct falling of wood in stream

Jennifer K. Carah, Christopher C. Blencowe, David W. Wright & Lisa A. Bolton (2014) Low-Cost Restoration Techniques for Rapidly Increasing Wood Cover in Coastal Coho Salmon Streams, North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 34:5, 1003-1013, DOI: 10.1080/02755947.2014.943861

Like many rivers and streams in forests of the Pacific Northwest, California north coast rivers and streams have been depleted of downed wood through timber harvest and direct wood removal. Due to the important role of wood in creating and maintaining salmonid habitat, wood augmentation has become a common element of stream restoration. Restoration efforts in North America often focus on building anchored, engineered wood structures at the site scale; however, these projects can fail to meet restoration goals at the watershed scale, do not closely mimic natural wood loading processes or dynamics, and can be expensive to implement. For critically imperiled populations of Coho Salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch in California, there is a strong impetus to achieve as much habitat restoration as possible in priority watersheds in the shortest time and with limited resources, so cost-efficient techniques are necessary. In this multi-site project, we investigated unanchored techniques for wood loading to evaluate cost and contribution to salmonid habitat in Mendocino County, California. Over a period of 6 years, 72.4 km of stream were treated with 1,973 pieces of strategically placed wood. We found that unanchored wood loading techniques were much less costly than commonly used anchored techniques, reliably improved habitat, and retained wood at high rates (mean = 92%) in small- to moderate-sized streams, at least over the short term ( < 6 years). The average cost of design and construction for the unanchored projects was US $259 per log, equivalent to 22% of the cost associated with the anchored wood augmentation methods examined here. Our results suggest that this unanchored wood loading approach has the potential to increase the pace and scale at which wood augmentation projects are implemented in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Downed wood plays an essential role in stream morphology and productivity, articularly in salmon-bearing streams of the Pacific Northwest