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

Appendix D. Best Management Practices for Maintaining Water Quality and Soil Productivity


The Best Management Practice (BMP) concept used in this Resource Management Plan (RMP) is designed to protect water quality, enable the achievement of water quality standards, and maintain soil productivity. The concept was developed and initiated in federal water quality legislation, with the focus of implementation at the state level. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has granted Designated Management Agency status to the BLM, making BLM responsible for implementing BMPs on the lands it administers. The BLM is also guided by the Clean Water Act of 1972 as amended in 1977 and 1987, state of Oregon water quality legislation (chapter 340), and the O&C Act. These BMPs are designed to comply with standards of the Oregon Forest Practices Act. Also, in the RMP, there are management actions/direction specific to all land use allocations and resources.

The RMP will utilize a mix of conservation practices such as those identified in this appendix or their equivalent. Together, these practices will become the BMP design for a project. The soil and water protection measures described below are types of controls that will be used to maintain water quality and to protect soil productivity and dependent beneficial uses.

The iterative process used in selecting and implementing nonpoint controls—including BMPs—to achieve water quality standards includes:

  • Design of BMPs based upon site-specific conditions; technical, economical, and institutional feasibility; and the water quality of those waters potentially impacted.
  • Monitoring to ensure that practices are properly designed and applied.
  • Monitoring to determine the effectiveness of practices in meeting water quality standards and the appropriateness of water quality criteria in reasonably assuring protection of beneficial uses.
  • Adjustment of BMPs when water quality standards are not being protected to a desired level and/or possible adjustment of water quality standards based upon considerations in 40 CFR 131.

BMPs revised through the iterative process of monitoring and adjustment are expected to lead to achievement of water quality standards. The following list of conservation practices are more specific than, and in addition to, the Management Action Direction contained in the RMP. The conservation practices are not, however, intended to be all inclusive nor replace site-specific project planning, which may require the use of different or additional conservation practices.

Four Goals

Goal #1 - Maintain water quality within State Water Quality Standards and Clean Water Act requirements.
Goal #2 - Meet the objectives of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy described in the RMP.
Goal #3 - Manage soil productivity at or above natural levels.
Goal #4 - Use the watershed analysis planning process as a means of identifying initial sets of conservation practices on watersheds 20-200 square miles in size that could be used for future activities in a BMP design.

Conservation Practices for Soil and Water Planning and Management

1. An interdisciplinary (ID) team, including a soil scientist and/or a hydrologist, will review all proposed activities that have potential to adversely impact soil or water. Soil and water protection will be an integral part of all plans. If necessary, plan modification or additional mitigation will be used to keep impacts to an acceptable minimum, while not adversely affecting aquatic conservation strategy objectives.
2. Watershed restoration planning will be done with watershed analysis to improve impaired watershed function and water quality. An inventory and implementation schedule will be developed as funds become available.
3. A floodplain and wetland evaluation will be completed prior to any land acquisition, disposal by sale or exchange, or where development or alterations of wetlands may occur.
4. Construction in, or change of, floodplains and wetland character will not occur when there is a viable alternative that avoids these important lands, unless done for enhancement purposes.
5. Community and noncommunity domestic supply watersheds will be managed for multiple use, but with a special emphasis on protection of water quality consistent with state standards and the Aquatic Conservation Strategy.
6. Pesticide applications used for growing, harvesting, and protecting forest tree species will conform with the Aquatic Conservation Strategy and the BMPs identified in the ROD for the Western Oregon Program - Management of Competing Vegetation.
7. To avoid water contamination, care will be taken in siting of temporary camps and also proper waste disposal procedures will be used.
8. Following wildfires, a rehabilitation plan will be developed using the ID team process. Site-specific information will be collected and treatments will be developed based on soils, water, and downstream values.
9. A plan for responding to hazardous substance spills will be developed and updated annually for spill prevention and control.
10. Ongoing activities may be interrupted or halted at the discretion of the District Manager or Area Manager for soil and water protection purposes.

Conservation Practices for Streams and Riparian Reserves

1. Riparian Reserves would be designated along all streams, lakes, ponds, and other waterbodies for attainment of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy.
2. Watershed analysis will precede forest activities in a Riparian Reserve except those categorically excluded under NEPA.
3. Naturally-occurring down logs or trees will not be removed from Riparian Reserves except for the benefit of the stream or Riparian Reserve. Potentially floatable debris that may be mobilized during infrequent floods and may reasonably damage downstream users' improvements may be removed after watershed analysis.
4. Timber will be directionally-felled or line-pulled away from perennial streams or Riparian Reserves when harvesting within a tree length of either, except to enhance stream structure by felling trees into the stream.
5. Stream crossings will be minimized and located where channels are well-defined, unobstructed, and straight. Crossings will be designed to minimize soil erosion, stream sedimentation, and adverse impacts on aquatic habitat.
6. The use of heavy equipment in streams will be restricted to that area necessary for correct installation of crossing structures, water source development, watershed restoration, or fisheries enhancement projects.
7. When possible, streams will be diverted around construction sites where fishery or other important stream values are present.
8. Culverts or pipe arches placed on valuable fish streams will be at zero to 0.5 percent or natural stream grade.
9. Energy dissipation material will be placed on fills around the inlet and outlet structures.
10. Filling, material removal, or channel relocation will not be allowed in fish-bearing streams (except for stream restoration projects) unless no other alternative exists.
11. Instream habitat improvement structures will be designed using state-of-art techniques and to be in balance with local stream hydraulics.
12. Low water fords will be used only as a last resort, and then during the driest time of the year with minimum streambank disturbance. Rocked approaches and erosion control practices will be used during and following any use of fords. The pre-existing stream channel—including bed and banks—will be restored after need for the ford ceases.
13. Refueling, equipment maintenance, fuel storage, or other handling of petroleum products will not occur in Riparian Reserves.
14. Placer mining claimants will be required to obtain all necessary federal and state operating permits before beginning work.

Conservation Practices for Road and Landing Construction

1. Road and landing construction activities will be limited to the dry season, generally from June into October.
2. Roads and landings will be designed and constructed to BLM standards, but be the narrowest and smallest sizes that will still meet safety standards, objectives of anticipated uses, and resource protection.
3. Roads and landings will be located out of Riparian Reserves to the extent possible. Unless construction is under existing reciprocal road right-of-way agreements, watershed analysis will precede location of any new roads or landings that must occur in a Riparian Reserve.
4. Roads will be located on stable locations as much as possible (e.g., ridge tops, stable benches or flats, and gentle-to-moderate side-slopes). Grades will be rolled (varied) to maintain stable locations. Headwalls, old slump benches, seeps, and side slopes in excess of 65 percent will be avoided as much as possible. Heights of cutbanks will be minimized and balanced earthwork will be used.
5. Road construction will be avoided as much as possible on slopes where geologic bedding planes are inclined with the slope.
6. The theoretical 100-year flood will be used as design criteria for all culverts, bridges, and other stream crossings, including allowance for bed load and debris. Stream crossings will be constructed with low diversion potential.
7. To minimize sidecasting of waste material, 100 percent end-haul (90 percent or greater actual) will be required where roads and landings must be located on side slopes exceeding 60 percent. On all road segments requiring end-haul, a tracked excavator will be preferred for pioneering and main excavation work. Other equipment capable of achieving this goal may be utilized. Pioneer work will be confined to within-roadway construction limits.
8. Stable end-haul (waste) sites will be located prior to end-hauling. These sites will be kept properly shaped, drained, and vegetated.
9. Controlled blasting techniques that minimize the amount of soil/rock displaced from the road location will be used.
10. Only soil and rock materials will be used in fills. Organic materials will not be used. Fills will be compacted between 85 and 95 percent maximum density. Light-weight fills consisting of chips, bark, or other material may be used in areas where rotational slumps have potential to cause road failures.
11. Road drainage will be designed to minimize soil erosion and stream sedimentation. Energy dissipators, culvert down pipes, or drainage dips will be used where water is discharged onto loose material and onto erodible or steep slopes.
12. Road surface shape (e.g., crowning, insloping, and outsloping) that meets planned use and resource protection needs will be used.
13. New roads to be included in the permanent road system will normally have a rock surface applied. Those new roads having a natural surface (generally roads in Curry County) may have the dirt surface seeded, mulched, and fertilized.
14. New roads not included in the permanent road system will be restored on completion of use. The road surface will be seeded and mulched, stream crossings restored, and the road generally blocked from further use. These roads may also be decommissioned through use of a winged ripper during the driest part of the year.
15. Following use of landings that have side slopes exceeding 60 percent, all soil, rock, and cull woody debris material that has been pushed over the edge will be pulled back to a stable part of the landing surface.
16. Soil erosion control work will be completed the same season disturbance occurs and using the district seed mix. Seed and fertilizer will be applied during the optimum time for establishment and prior to winter rains, primarily September 1 to October 30, and secondarily March 15 to May 15.
17. Drainage and soil erosion control practices will be applied to renovated or reconstructed roads in the same manner as newly-constructed roads.
18. Road maintenance activities will be planned to minimize soil erosion and subsequent stream sedimentation. Heavy equipment will be used to clean ditches at necessary intervals. Undercutting of backslopes will be avoided. Bare soil created by maintenance activities will be protected from soil erosion as soon as possible.
19. Sloughed cutbank materials will not be sidecast onto slopes greater than 60 percent, nor into or near drainages. This material will be end-hauled to a stable site.
20. Low-growing, herbaceous ground cover and brush will be retained on cut-and-fill slopes unless it poses a safety hazard.
21. Permanent, effective drainage will be provided on roads that are closed but not totally reclaimed. Waterbars, dips, or outsloping will be used; culverts and bridges will be removed; and the natural drainway re-established.

Conservation Practices for Timber Harvest

1. Timber sale units will be designed to minimize adverse impacts on soils and water. The sale contract will contain stipulations for protection or mitigation. All Riparian Reserves, perennial and intermittent streams, and other water features will be shown on planning and contract maps.
2. Yarding through Riparian Reserves will be avoided unless there is no reasonable alternative. The location, number, and width of corridors will be specified prior to yarding, and natural openings will be used as much as possible. Not more than 250 feet of yarding corridors would be allowed within any 1,000 feet of stream. Maximum corridor width will be 50 feet, and corridors will be at least 50 feet apart. Full log suspension will be used where feasible.
3. Cable yarding, preferably with partial log suspension, will be the preferred standard method for log yarding on all district lands.
4. Cable systems capable of at least partial log suspension will be required to yard all lands inventoried as FGR1 and FGR2 in the TPCC system.
5. Aerial systems or skyline cable systems capable of full log suspension will be utilized when feasible to yard all lands inventoried as FGR2 in the TPCC system.
6. Seasonal yarding restrictions will be used in some areas where the desired log suspension cannot be achieved.
7. Downhill yarding will be avoided unless used to prevent additional or difficult road or landing construction.
8. Ground-Based Yarding Systems
  a. If tractors or rubber-tired skidders are used for log skidding, skid trails will be designated with the objective of having less than 12 percent of a harvest area affected by compaction. Existing skid roads will be used to the extent practical.
  b. Tractors or rubber-tired skidders will be restricted to slopes of less than 35 percent and used only during the driest part of the year, typically mid-July to mid-September.
  c. Other ground-based yarding systems (e.g., spider-walkers and feller bunchers) may be used on slopes over 35 percent, provided the expected growth-loss effect is insignificant and skid trails involve less than 12 percent of the harvest area.
  d. Following use, skid roads not needed for future entries will be ripped at the optimum time, using a winged subsoiler and the land will be returned to timber production
  e. Skid trails needed for future entries will have erosion control and drainage measures applied between usage.
  f. Drainage and erosion control measures, including water barring of skid trails, will be applied to bare soil areas following use and prior to winter rains.

Conservation Practices for Silvicultural Operations

1. Riparian Reserves—including open water and wetlands—will be protected during fertilizer application. Buffers at least 100 feet wide will be planned along all flowing streams that have domestic use, support fisheries, or have other important uses. Riparian Reserve buffer widths will be planned around lakes and ponds. Application will be avoided during heavy rain or when wind speed could cause drift. Storage, transfer, and loading sites will be located away from streams and outside Riparian Reserves.
2. Where burning is necessary for site preparation, site-specific prescriptions will be used.
3. Burning prescriptions will be strictly adhered to on highly sensitive soils. These soils include: shallow, rocky soils on 70 percent or greater slopes with south or west aspect, located out of the "fog belt"; and the same kinds of soils on extremely steep (80 percent or greater), and north and east aspects in the drier parts of the district.
4. As much large, down, woody material will be left onsite as possible while still meeting site preparation needs. Gross yarding will be used on steep headwalls and deep V-shaped draws to decrease or break up logging debris concentrations, reduce fire intensity, and minimize potential debris torrent damage. The need for, and amount of, gross yarding will be determined by site-specific watershed analysis. Old embedded logs or other logs that contribute to bank stability will not be removed.
5. Where machine piling of logging debris is used, first preference will be given to low ground pressure backhoe/loader/grapple type equipment. If conventional tractor piling is used, brush blades will be required and piling will be done under strict soil and water protecting constraints. Any machine piling will be done during the driest part of the year, and compacted areas would be tilled with properly designed equipment.
6. Use of tractors for fireline construction will be limited as much as possible, and tractors will be restricted to slopes less than 35 percent. Tractor-constructed fire trails will be waterbarred.
7. Grass/legume seeding of units may be done to protect highly erosive soils following burning. This will be coordinated and reconciled with wildlife and silvicultural objectives.