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For more information on species & ecosystem science:

Wildlife Science
360-902-2515
wildthing@dfw.wa.gov

Fish Science
360-902-2700
fishpgm@dfw.wa.gov

Habitat Science
360-902-2534
habitatprogram@dfw.wa.gov

 
 

Lead Scientist: Aimee McIntyre

Ecoregions: Puget Trough, Northwest Coast, East Cascades, West Cascades

Ecological Systems: North pacific Maritime Mesic-Wet Douglas-fir-Western Hemlock Forest, North Pacific Lowland Riparian Forest and Shrubland

   
 
  Aerial image of a study site prior to harvest treatment application. Red outline shows study basin boundary, streams are in blue.
   
 
  Aerial image of a study site after harvest treatment application. Red outline shows study basin boundary, streams are in blue.
   
 
  Locations of 18 study streams in Washington State
   
 
  Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon) post-metamorph
   
 
  Crews search for stream-associated amphibians in the Willapa Hills, Washington
   
 
  Cascade Torrent Salamanders (Rhyacotriton cascadae) post-metamorphs
   
 
  Coastal tailed frogs (Ascaphus truei) metamorph and post-metamorph
   

Managed Lands in Coniferous Forests

Effectiveness of Riparian Buffers Along Streams With No Fish

Project Description

We are conducting a large-scale experiment on small streams in managed forests of western Washington. The small streams are non-fish-bearing, meaning that no fish live in them. These small "headwater" streams comprise about 65% of the total stream length in western Washington and thus make up a significant portion of the managed landscape. Several stream-associated amphibian species utilize these environments for breeding, foraging, and overwintering, among other things.

This experiment is designed to test how well new rules for harvesting timber along these streams (Forest and Fish Law) protects the amphibians that specialize on these types of environments. Research focuses on amphibians not only because they are unique to these environments, but because they are vulnerable to environmental change and thus good indicators of environmental conditions.

This experiment is distinctive due to the large geographic range it covers, as well as the fact that it allows us to compare the same study streams before and after harvest has occurred. The experiment will compare the effect of four different levels of harvest intensity (from no harvest to complete timber removal) on changes in presence and density of stream-associated amphibians (Coastal Tailed Frog, Torrent Salamanders, and Giant Salamanders), amphibian genetic diversity and gene flow, riparian forest stand characteristics, water quality, primary productivity, and elements exported downstream.

At six of the sites, researchers will measure the response of fish in the downstream fish-bearing reach. Information from this study will be used to determine how current rules are working and how landowners can protect important habitats and species while producing other goods such as wood fiber.

Key Findings

  • Three years of before-harvest data collection began in 2006

  • Harvest treatments were successfully applied to 11 basins between spring 2008 and summer 2009

  • The first year of after-harvest data collection is complete and the second year of after-harvest data collection will begin in 2010

Staff

  • Eric Lund has been assisting with the Type N Study since 2007 when he joined our team as the field crew coordinator and works year round as a wildlife biologist assisting with development of sampling protocols, implementation of data collection in the field, data organization and analysis, and GPS data collection and mapping in ArcGIS. Prior to joining the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife he spent the previous eight years chasing and mapping rare plant and animal species while studying their habitat relationships across seven states in the Pacific Northwest. During that time he worked for the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alaska State Parks, and as a research assistant at three different universities. He received his B.S. in Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1997.

  • Frithiof "Teal" Waterstrat began working with us as a seasonal scientific technician in 2006 and has since joined our team year round, assisting with development of sampling protocols, organization of field crews, data organization and analysis, and GPS data collection and mapping in ArcGIS. Teal received a BS in Biology from the University of Washington in 2003. Before joining WDFW Teal held positions studying the regeneration of PNW understory flora on managed timberlands, NMFS ground fish management and salmon aquaculture in Alaska, and a smattering of other natural resource jobs.

Funding

Funding for the above mentioned research was provided by the Cooperative Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research (CMER) Committee.

Partners

Participating Landowners

Presentations

Publications and Posters