Coos Bay Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Coos Bay Record of Decision

Coos Bay District Resource Management Plan Table of Contents:

- Tables

- Figures

- Maps

- Appendices

Aquatic Conservation Strategy

The Aquatic Conservation Strategy was developed to restore and maintain the ecological health of watersheds and their aquatic ecosystems on public lands. The strategy would protect salmon and steelhead habitat on federal lands managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management within the range of the Pacific Ocean anadromy.

The Aquatic Conservation Strategy is designed to meet the following objectives:

-   Maintain and restore the distribution, diversity, and complexity of watershed and landscape-scale features to ensure protection of the aquatic systems to which species, populations, and communities are uniquely adapted.
-   Maintain and restore spatial and temporal connectivity within and between watersheds. Lateral, longitudinal, and drainage network connections include floodplains, wetlands, upslope areas, headwater tributaries, and intact refugia. These lineages must provide chemically and physically unobstructed routes to areas critical for fulfilling life history requirements of aquatic and riparian-dependent species.
-   Maintain and restore the physical integrity of the aquatic system, including shorelines, banks, and bottom configurations.
-   Maintain and restore water quality necessary to support healthy riparian, aquatic, and wetland ecosystems. Water quality must remain in the range that maintains the biological, physical, and chemical integrity of the system and benefits survival, growth, reproduction, and migration of individuals composing aquatic and riparian communities.
-   Maintain and restore the sediment regime under which an aquatic ecosystem evolved. Elements of the sediment regime include the timing, volume, rate, and character of sediment input, storage, and transport.
-   Maintain and restore instream flows sufficient to create and sustain riparian, aquatic, and wetland habitats and to retain patterns of sediment, nutrient, and wood routing (i.e., movement of woody debris through the aquatic system). The timing, magnitude, duration, and spatial distribution of peak, high, and low flows must be protected.
-   Maintain and restore the timing, variability, and duration of floodplain inundation and the water table elevation in meadows and wetlands.
-   Maintain and restore the species composition and structural diversity of plant communities in riparian zones and wetlands to provide adequate summer and winter thermal regulation, nutrient filtering, appropriate rates of surface erosion, bank erosion, and channel migration and to supply amounts and distributions of coarse woody debris sufficient to sustain physical complexity and stability.
-   Maintain and restore habitat to support well-distributed populations of native plant, invertebrate, and vertebrate riparian-dependent species.

The components of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy are Riparian Reserves, Key Watersheds, Watershed Analysis, and Watershed Restoration.

Riparian Reserves

See Riparian Reserves in the Land Use Allocation section.

Key Watersheds

A system of Key Watersheds that serve as refugia is crucial for maintaining and recovering habitat for at-risk stocks of anadromous salmonids and resident fish species. These refugia include areas of high quality habitat and areas of degraded habitat. Key Watersheds with high quality conditions will serve as anchors for the potential recovery of depressed stocks. Those of lower quality habitat have high potential for restoration and will become future sources of high quality habitat with the implementation of a comprehensive restoration program.

There are two types of Key Watersheds—Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 watersheds contribute directly to conservation of at-risk anadromous salmonids, bull trout, and resident fish species. They also have a high potential of being restored as part of a watershed restoration program. Tier 2 watersheds do not contain at-risk fish stocks, but they are important sources of high quality water.

Key Watersheds in the district are listed in Table 2, and their locations are shown on Map 3. All Key Watersheds on Table 2 are Tier 1; there are no Tier 2 Watersheds in the district.

Key Watersheds overlay portions of all land use allocations in the district and place additional management requirements or emphasis on activities in those areas. The non-interchangeable component of the allowable sale quantity attributable to Key Watersheds is approximately 0.5 MMCF (3 MMBF).

Management Actions/Direction

-   In Key Watersheds, prepare watershed analyses prior to resource management activity, including timber harvest. Until completion of watershed analyses, proceed with minor activities—such as those categorically excluded under the NEPA regulations (except timber harvest)—contingent on their consistency with Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives. Apply Riparian Reserve management actions/direction.
-   Reduce existing road mileage within Key Watersheds. If funding is insufficient to implement reductions, do not construct (nor authorize through discretionary permits) a net increase in road mileage in Key Watersheds.
-   Give highest priority to watershed restoration in Key Watersheds.

Watershed Analysis

For watershed analysis requirements, see the Watershed Analysis section (toward the end of this section) and the SEIS ROD (Appendix B).

Watershed Restoration

Watershed restoration will be an integral part of a program to aid recovery of fish habitat, riparian habitat, and water quality. The program's most important components are control and prevention of road-related runoff and sediment production, restoration of the condition of riparian vegetation, and restoration of instream habitat complexity. Other restoration opportunities include meadow and wetland restoration and mine reclamation.

Management Actions/Direction

-   Prepare watershed analyses and plans prior to restoration activities. See the Watershed Analysis section.
-   Focus watershed restoration on removing some roads and, where needed, upgrading those that remain in the system.
-   Apply silvicultural treatments to restore large conifers in Riparian Reserves.
-   Restore stream channel complexity. Instream structures will only be used in the short term and not as a mitigation measure.

Additional information about the Aquatic Conservation Strategy is in the SEIS ROD (Appendix B).