Portland State University. Department of Environmental Science and Management
Date of Award
Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental Science and Management
Environmental Science and Management
1 online resource (viii, 111 pages)
Logging -- Environmental aspects -- Oregon -- Clackamas River Watershed, Invertebrate communities -- Oregon -- Clackamas River Watershed, Biotic communities -- Oregon -- Clackamas River Watershed, River sediments -- Oregon -- Clackamas River Watershed
Logging and associated skid trails, haul routes, and roads can have significant impacts on the magnitude and timing of sediments in streams in forested watersheds. Loss of vegetation, soil compaction, use of heavy logging equipment, and alteration of natural hydrologic patterns within the watershed can increase landslide rates, create erosion, and generate fine sediments. Selective logging, also called thinning, is a logging practice that leaves some trees within sale units unharvested. The ecological impacts of thinning on stream ecosystems are not fully understood and need further study. My hypothesis was that macroinvertebrate assemblages would be different in streams in non-reference areas that contain recent selective logging compared to streams in reference areas, and in downstream vs. upstream of selective logging units. I also hypothesized that selective logging and high road densities would be associated with increased instream fine sediments. I sampled water quality parameters and macroinvertebrates in three managed and three reference streams in the Clackamas River Basin during the field season of 2013. Turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, total dissolved solids (TDS), suspended sediment concentrations (SSC), and flow were sampled at each stream on four occasions during spring through early fall. Macroinvertebrates were sampled once in late summer or early fall. EPA rapid habitat assessments, canopy cover, pebble counts, embeddedness, and slope were also determined. Water quality parameters and macroinvertebrate indices in reference and non-reference sites were compared using t-tests, Welch's tests, or rank based equivalents. Macroinvertebrate assemblage patterns and associated environmental variables were characterized using non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) ordination plots and envfit overlays. Macroinvertebrates had higher abundance and taxa richness in non-reference streams, and indices suggested poorer water quality in non-reference streams. Non-reference streams had a lower percentage of shredders and a higher portion of gatherer-collectors. Associations between land use, fine sediments, and changes in macroinvertebrate metrics and community assemblages were apparent at the reference vs. non-reference scale. It is likely that macroinvertebrates are responding, at least in part, to past logging and high road densities in non-reference streams. Fewer indications were found that recent logging may be affecting water quality and macroinvertebrates. Pearson's correlation coefficients show that the percent of recent logging upstream of study sites was correlated with several measures of fine sediments, suggesting that recent land use may be affecting sediment levels at the subwatershed scale. Stream temperatures increased from upstream to downstream in non-reference sites. Though no continual stream temperature data were collected in this study, the history of continuing temperature standard exceedances in the area suggest that further investigation of how selective logging may be affecting stream temperature and other water quality parameters in the Clackamas Basin is warranted. No other differences in water quality parameters were found from upstream to downstream, possibly because water quality was sufficiently protected, or because signals from land use impacts may be obscured by a several factors, including upstream confounding factors such as roads and past logging, and natural variability.
Hood, Paula Elizabeth, "Effects of Selective Logging and Roads on Instream Fine Sediments and Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in the Clackamas Basin, Oregon" (2015). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2407.