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APPENDIX N
WATERSHED SENSITIVITY AND CONDITION ANALYSIS
FOR THE HERGER-FEINSTEIN QLG ACT
PILOT PROJECT AREA

Because of a lack of consistent information across the three forests regarding watershed conditions, the following procedure was developed. This procedure loosely follows the procedures in Determining the Risk of Cumulative Watershed Effects Resulting from Multiple Activities, USDA Forest Service, February 1993. The format and procedure also loosely follows that developed in Region 3 of the Forest Service and discussed in their "Hydrology Notes," February 17, 1981, titled: A System for Focusing the Watershed Management Program in the Southwestern Region for the 1980's, by Doug Shaw, Rhey Solomon, Jim Maxwell, and Larry Schmidt (both documents available in planning file).

Introduction

The following process integrates two levels of analysis. The first rates the sensitivity of the watersheds by their naturally occurring attributes, while the second rates the existing condition of the watersheds by examining past land use impacts. The two ratings are integrated into a single rating of low, moderate, high, or very high risk of cumulative effects.

The information was originally to be used to input limits into an "optimization model" integrating forest, fire, watershed, wildlife, and people into landscapes and polygons that maximize some variables and minimize others. This model was not run, but the information developed was useful and helped develop the alternatives. Much of this information is presented here.

Other uses of this analysis will include recommendations for future Watershed Analyses (also referred to as Landscape Analyses) and a ranking of watersheds for restoration analyses and "riparian restoration projects," as called for in the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Act.

Analysis Process

Criteria were developed that describe the sensitivity of watersheds to disturbances, both human-caused and natural, as well as existing conditions. Existing watershed condition criteria are evaluated both using known data and using subjective evaluations by experienced earth scientists familiar with portions of the Pilot Project area. Generally, no weighting is applied to any criteria, therefore all criteria are evaluated equally, as prescribed in the Forest Service Handbook (FSH 2209.22, Chapter 20). Each criteria is rated as 1, 2, or 3, based on its applicability as defined. The total score under each rating is the sum of the individual criteria scores. The final rating multiplies the results of the two individual scores into a single score and a descriptor or risk is assigned.

Watershed Sensitivity Criteria

· Erosion Potential. The percent of the watershed with high to very high Erosion Hazard Rating (EHR).

· Part of Watershed with Slopes Greater Than 60 percent. A primary indicator of potential instability.

· Percent Alluvial Stream Channels. Sensitive, depositional landforms and the channels draining through them usually occur where stream channel gradients are less than 2 percent. This criterion compares the channel miles with less than 2 percent gradient with the total miles of channels within the watershed.

· Rain-on-snow and/or Thunderstorm Potential. Based on the climatic regime of the watershed, this criterion evaluates the primary mechanism(s) involved with erosion and movement of material to channels. The primary erosional mechanism can be either rain-on-snow runoff events or thunder-storm runoff events, or both. In the following table, elevation and average annual precipitation are considered the primary delineators for the two mechanisms.

Table N-1. Estimated Potential Occurrence of Rain-on-Snow and Thunderstorm Events.

Rain-on-Snow Potential
Elevation (ft) Runoff Type
less than 3,500 Predominantly rain
3,500 to 6,500 Rain-on snow events common
greater than 6,500 Few rain-on-snow events; runoff mostly snowmelt.

Thunderstorm Potential
Precipitation Thunderstorm Activity
less than 30 inches High
greater than 30 inches Low
· Vegetation Recovery Potential. The potential of an average area in the watershed to revegetate after becoming bare. This criteria is based mostly on climate, using the following table as a guide, but should also take into account general soil moisture conditions.
Table N-2. Vegetative Recovery Potential.
Rating Zone Average Annual Precipitation
high west-side greater than 50"
moderate central 30" - 50" 
low east-side less than 30"

Watershed Condition Criteria

· Road Density (miles per square mile). A measure of the potential impacts caused by roads, it is calculated as miles of roads per square mile of watershed area. This is a two-fold analysis. First, because roads within Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas (RHCA's) and Streamside Management Zones (SMZ's) have a very high potential for causing impacts to the aquatic/riparian system, the road density within the protection zones is weighted by a factor of 10. Second, the riparian road density (times 10) is added to the road density in the remainder of the watershed to give a final density. This final value is used to decide the factor rating.
Table N-3. Road density per square mile.
Rating Road Density (mi/sq mi) Factor Rating
low less than 1 1
moderate 2-3 2
high greater than 3 3

The factor rating for this element is added to the factor rating for Road-Stream Crossing Density below to derive a final rating.

· Road-Stream Crossing Density (number per square mile). Wherever a road crosses a stream there is almost always a direct connection between the road and the stream that affects runoff and sediment discharge. Crossing density is calculated as the number of crossings per square mile of watershed area.
Table N-4. Road Stream Crossing Density per Square Mile.
Rating Crossing Density (mi/sq mi) Factor Rating
low less than 1 1
moderate 1-2 2
high greater than 2 3

The final score to be used in evaluating the impacts of roads on watersheds is the sum of the two factor ratings (Road Density + Road-Stream Crossing Density) divided by two.

· Condition of Alluvial Channels. Using A User Guide to Assessing Proper Functioning Condition and the Supporting Science for Lotic Areas, TR 1737-15 1998, published by the USDI and USDA, as a guide, the following definitions can be used.
Table N-5. Condition of Alluvial Stream Channels.
Rating Channel Condition
Good In Proper Functioning Condition
Fair Functional - at Risk
Poor Nonfunctional
· Land Use Disturbance. A subjective rating of the percent of the watershed impacted by land use disturbances, other than roads, that have occurred in the past 30 years, using SRS data (Stand Record Cards) and visual estimates. The percentage is adjusted by an average recovery factor of 70 percent (equivalent to 7-10 years of recovery). This means that 30 percent of the land use disturbance area is still recovering.
Table N-6. Land Use Disturbance.
Rating % of Watershed Still Recovering
High greater than 15 percent
Moderate 10 - 15 percent
Low 5 - 10 percent
0 less than 5 percent
· Tolerable ERA 1 Increase. Figure 6. "Risk of Cumulative Effects," page 15 of the Determining the Risk of Cumulative Watershed Effects resulting from Multiple Activities document, listed above, will be changed to a table of "Tolerable ERA Increase" for each watershed sensitivity/condition score. The objective is to not exceed the moderate risk of cumulative effects. The values on the abscissa of the graph in Figure 6 will be changed to reflect the ERA increase that a watershed can sustain before reaching a high risk of cumulative watershed effects.
Table N-7. Tolerable ERA Increase.
Risk of Cumulative Watershed Effects Tolerable ERA Increase
Low
Moderate 3
High 1
Very High


Footnote:
1 Equivalent Roaded Acre (ERA) - a method of categorizing the amount of soil compaction resulting from land management activities in terms of a common base - a compacted road surface.  Roads are assigned an ERA of 1.00 and all other disturbed areas are assigned ERA values between 0.00 and 1.00.  For example, a clearcut acre is assigned a value of 0.33.


Assumptions. The following assumptions were used to help standardize the analysis process:

1. An average score of fair, or moderate, implies that the condition actually ranges from good to poor, or high to low. Watershed size will influence the ability of the scores to display actual conditions.

2. The range of values developed for the Watershed Sensitivity analysis represent actual values for the entire Pilot Project area, not just a portion of it.

3. All criteria ratings are equal and weighting is not necessary.

4. Vegetation recovery does not equate to restored soil conditions. It is used to indicate reductions in erosion and sedimentation.

5. As much as possible, private lands are included along with Federal lands to determine each factor rating.

6. Where a watershed contains a lot of variation, the average score is skewed towards the high side.

7. This exercise provides documentation of watershed sensitivities and conditions. The final output will be given a reality check by specialists familiar with the watersheds and the final risk ratings adjusted accordingly.

8. All watersheds that contain less than 25% federal lands were eliminated from this analysis because of lack of information. If projects are developed for these areas, impacts will be evaluated in project-level watershed analyses.


WATERSHED CONDITION ANALYSIS

Watershed Identification__________________________ Date_____________________________

WATERSHED SENSITIVITY
Factor Rating
Watershed Sensitivity Factor
1
2
3
Score
Erosion Potential (EHR)(Precent of basin in High - Very High)
<10%
10-40%
>40%
 
Percent of Basin in Slopes>60% (55% - 65%)
<5%
5-25%
>25%
 
Percent Alluvial Stream Channels (gradient <2%)
<5%
5-25%
>25%
 
Rain-on-Snow and/or Thunderstorm Potential
Low
Moderate
High
 
Vegetation Recovery Potential
High
Moderate
Low
 

SENSITIVITY SCORE TOTAL =
(Low <7.6) (Moderate 7.6-12.5) (High >12.5)

WATERSHED CONDITION
   
Factor Rating
   
Watershed Condition Factor
1
2
3
Score
Road Density (miles/square mile) + Crossing Density (number/square mile)
Low
Moderate
High
 
Condition of Alluvial Stream Channels
Good
Fair
Poor
 
Land Disturbance (excluding roads)
0-low
Moderate
High

CONDITION SCORE TOTAL =
(Low <4.6) (Moderate 4.6-7.5) (High >7.5)

Final Score and Risk of Cumulative Effects. Multiply the two scores derived above:________________

(< 39 = Low) (39 - 72 = Moderate) (73 - 85 = High) (> 85 = Very High)*

*Based on sorting and grouping the scores of 348 watersheds averaging almost 10,000 acres in size and contained within the HFQLG Act Pilot Project area.


Table N-8. WATERSHED SENSITIVITY AND CONDITION ANALYSIS
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating3 Risk of 
Cumulative Effects
60007 6 6.5 39.0 M
60008 8 7.0 56.0 M
60010 11 4.5 49.5 M
60011 9 4.0 36.0 L
60012 9 6.5 58.5 M
60013 8 8.0 64.0 M
60015 8 6.5 52.0 M
60016 8 6.0 48.0 M
60017 7 6.5 45.5 M
60018 11 3.0 33.0 L
60019 12 3.0 36.0 L
60020 10 6.0 60.0 M
60021 9 8.0 72.0 M
60022 10 7.0 70.0 M
60023 9 7.5 67.5 M
60024 6 7.5 45.0 M
60025 10 6.5 65.0 M
60026 10 6.5 65.0 M
60027 9 6.0 54.0 M
60028 10 6.5 65.0 M
60029 9 7.5 67.5 M
60030 10 6.0 60.0 M
60031 9 6.5 58.5 M
60032 8 6.5 52.0 M
60033 10 7.0 70.0 M
60040 10 6.5 65.0 M
60041 7 5.0 35.0 L
60042 9 7.0 63.0 M
60043 6 3.5 21.0 L
60044 6 4.0 24.0 L
60045 7 4.0 28.0 L
60046 5 3.0 15.0 L
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating 3 Risk of 
Cumulative Effects
60047 8 4.0 32.0 L
60048 9 6.5 58.5 M
60049 9 6.0 54.0 M
60053 10 6.5 65.0 M
60054 10 6.5 65.0 M
60057 10 5.5 55.0 M
60058 9 7.5 67.5 M
60059 10 7.0 70.0 M
60060 10 6.5 65.0 M
60064 12 7.0 84.0 H
60065 10 6.5 65.0 M
60067 11 6.5 71.5 M
60068 9 5.0 45.0 M
60069 10 5.0 50.0 M
60070 9 5.5 49.5 M
60071 8 6.5 52.0 M
60072 9 4.0 36.0 L
60073 11 6.0 66.0 M
60074 10 3.5 35.0 L
60075 11 5.0 55.0 M
60076 10 7.0 70.0 M
60077 10 5.5 55.0 M
60082 10 3.0 30.0 L
60083 9 5.5 49.5 M
60084 10 6.5 65.0 M
60085 11 7.0 77.0 H
60086 10 6.5 65.0 M
60087 11 6.0 66.0 M
60088 10 7.0 70.0 M
60092 12 6.0 72.0 M
60093 10 5.5 55.0 M
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating 3 Risk of 
Cumulative Effects
60094 10 5.5 55.0 M
60095 8 4.0 32.0 L
60096 9 3.0 27.0 L
60097 10 4.5 45.0 M
60098 11 4.5 49.5 M
60099 10 5.0 50.0 M
60100 8 4.0 32.0 L
60101 8 3.0 24.0 L
60102 10 3.5 35.0 L
60103 8 3.0 24.0 L
60104 6 3.5 21.0 L
60105 7 4.0 28.0 L
60106 9 5.0 45.0 M
60107 10 6.0 60.0 M
60108 8 6.0 48.0 M
60109 9 6.5 58.5 M
60110 9 6.5 58.5 M
60111 11 7.0 77.0 H
60114 9 7.5 67.5 M
60115 8 6.5 52.0 M
60116 8 8.0 64.0 M
60117 8 7.0 56.0 M
60118 9 8.5 76.5 H
60119 8 7.0 56.0 M
60120 10 6.0 60.0 M
60121 10 4.0 40.0 M
60122 9 6.0 54.0 M
60123 10 4.0 40.0 M
60124 9 4.5 40.5 M
60125 9 5.0 45.0 M
60126 9 5.0 45.0 M
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating 3 Risk of 
Cumulative Effects
60127 9 5.0 45.0 M
60128 10 4.0 40.0 M
60129 12 3.0 36.0 L
60130 12 4.0 48.0 M
60131 10 8.0 80.0 H
60132 8 5.5 44.0 M
60133 11 7.5 82.5 H
60134 11 5.5 60.5 M
60135 11 6.0 66.0 M
60136 12 5.0 60.0 M
60137 11 5.0 55.0 M
60138 11 6.5 71.5 M
60139 11 5.0 55.0 M
60140 11 5.5 60.5 M
60141 12 5.0 60.0 M
60142 11 5.5 60.5 M
60143 11 4.5 49.5 M
60144 11 5.5 60.5 M
60145 12 4.0 48.0 M
60146 10 4.0 40.0 M
60147 12 3.0 36.0 L
60148 11 6.0 66.0 M
60149 9 5.0 45.0 M
60150 10 4.5 45.0 M
60151 9 6.5 58.5 M
60152 8 5.0 40.0 M
60153 6 6.0 36.0 L
60154 8 7.0 56.0 M
60155 9 6.5 58.5 M
60158 10 4.0 40.0 M
60160 9 4.0 36.0 L
60161 9 3.0 27.0 L
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating 3 Risk of 
Cumulative Effects
60162 11 4.5 49.5 M
60163 11 5.5 60.5 M
60164 11 4.0 44.0 M
110003 9 5.0 45.0 M
110006 9 4.5 40.5 M
110007 9 6.0 54.0 M
110010 9 4.5 40.5 M
110012 11 4.5 49.5 M
110015 10 4.5 45.0 M
110017 10 4.5 45.0 M
110018 10 7.0 70.0 M
110019 9 6.0 54.0 M
110020 10 6.0 60.0 M
110021 10 6.0 60.0 M
110022 12 5.0 60.0 M
110023 10 6.0 60.0 M
110024 10 7.0 70.0 M
110025 10 4.5 45.0 M
110026 10 5.5 55.0 M
110028 10 5.5 55.0 M
110029 11 4.5 49.5 M
110030 10 5.0 50.0 M
110031 11 4.0 44.0 M
110032 9 6.0 54.0 M
110033 10 5.5 55.0 M
110034 10 6.0 60.0 M
110035 11 6.5 71.5 M
110036 11 4.0 44.0 M
110037 10 5.0 50.0 M
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating 3 Risk of 
Cumulative Effects
110038 11 5.5 60.5 M
110039 12 6.0 72.0 M
110040 11 7.0 77.0 H
110041 11 6.0 66.0 M
110042 12 6.0 72.0 M
110043 9 5.5 49.5 M
110044 12 7.0 84.0 H
110045 12 4.5 54.0 M
110046 13 3.0 39.0 M
110047 13 4.0 52.0 M
110048 11 5.5 60.5 M
110049 12 4.0 48.0 M
110050 13 6.0 78.0 H
110051 12 6.0 72.0 M
110052 12 3.5 42.0 M
110053 10 6.0 60.0 M
110054 9 6.0 54.0 M
110055 11 5.0 55.0 M
110056 11 5.0 55.0 M
110064 11 5.0 55.0 M
110066 13 4.5 58.5 M
110067 12 6.0 72.0 M
110068 12 6.0 72.0 M
110069 10 5.0 50.0 M
110070 9 4.0 36.0 L
110071 10 8.5 85.0 H
110072 10 6.0 60.0 M
110073 10 8.5 85.0 H
110074 11 7.0 77.0 H
110075 10 8.0 80.0 H
110076 11 6.0 66.0 M
110077 11 4.0 44.0 M
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating 3 Risk of 
Cumulative Effects
110078 11 6.0 66.0 M
110079 10 6.5 65.0 M
110080 11 7.5 82.5 H
110081 11 6.0 66.0 M
110082 11 4.5 49.5 M
110083 9 5.5 49.5 M
110084 10 7.5 75.0 H
110085 10 7.5 75.0 H
110086 11 7.5 82.5 H
110087 11 7.0 77.0 H
110088 12 7.0 84.0 H
110089 10 5.5 55.0 M
110090 10 6.0 60.0 M
110091 10 6.0 60.0 M
110092 9 5.5 49.5 M
110093 9 6.0 54.0 M
110094 9 6.0 54.0 M
110095 10 6.5 65.0 M
110096 9 5.0 45.0 M
110097 9 5.0 45.0 M
110098 9 7.0 63.0 M
110099 9 6.5 58.5 M
110100 9 3.5 31.5 L
110101 10 7.0 70.0 M
110102 12 5.0 60.0 M
110103 10 9.0 90.0 VH
110104 12 8.0 96.0 VH
110105 11 5.0 55.0 M
110106 11 7.5 82.5 H
110107 11 7.5 82.5 H
110108 10 8.0 80.0 H
110109 10 7.5 75.0 H
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating 3 Risk of 
Cumulative Effects
110110 10 8.0 80.0 H
110111 9 8.0 72.0 M
110112 10 8.0 80.0 H
110113 10 4.5 45.0 M
110114 11 7.0 77.0 H
110115 9 6.5 58.5 M
110116 10 4.0 40.0 M
110117 13 4.5 58.5 M
110118 12 3.5 42.0 M
110119 13 4.5 58.5 M
110120 12 5.5 66.0 M
110121 9 3.5 31.5 L
110122 11 4.5 49.5 M
110123 9 8.0 72.0 M
110124 8 7.5 60.0 M
110125 9 5.0 45.0 M
110126 10 6.0 60.0 M
110127 8 7.0 56.0 M
110128 12 5.0 60.0 M
110129 11 5.0 55.0 M
110130 11 6.0 66.0 M
110131 11 9.0 99.0 VH
110132 11 7.5 82.5 H
110133 9 7.5 67.5 M
110134 11 6.5 71.5 M
110135 11 7.5 82.5 H
110136 11 6.0 66.0 M
110137 10 7.5 75.0 H
110138 9 7.0 63.0 M
110139 12 4.5 54.0 M
110140 9 5.0 45.0 M
110141 10 7.5 75.0 H
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating 3 Risk of 
Cumulative Effects
110142 10 7.0 70.0 M
110143 11 4.5 49.5 M
110144 11 7.0 77.0 H
110145 10 5.5 55.0 M
110146 12 3.5 42.0 M
110147 11 4.0 44.0 M
110148 10 4.0 40.0 M
110149 9 4.0 36.0 L
110150 12 4.5 54.0 M
110151 9 5.5 49.5 M
110152 11 4.5 49.5 M
110153 10 4.5 45.0 M
110154 11 4.5 49.5 M
110155 10 5.0 50.0 M
110156 10 4.5 45.0 M
110157 10 5.0 50.0 M
110158 10 6.5 65.0 M
110159 11 7.0 77.0 H
110160 9 6.5 58.5 M
110161 9 5.0 45.0 M
110162 10 4.5 45.0 M
110163 10 4.5 45.0 M
110164 12 7.0 84.0 H
110165 9 6.0 54.0 M
110166 11 6.0 66.0 M
110167 9 5.0 45.0 M
110168 10 7.0 70.0 M
110169 9 6.5 58.5 M
110170 12 7.5 90.0 VH
110171 11 6.5 71.5 M
110172 10 6.5 65.0 M
110173 11 5.5 60.5 M
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating 3 Risk of 
Cumulative Effects
110174 11 5.0 55.0 M
110175 13 3.0 39.0 M
110176 11 6.0 66.0 M
110177 11 8.0 88.0 VH
110178 9 6.0 54.0 M
110179 11 8.5 93.5 VH
110180 10 7.0 70.0 M
110181 11 7.0 77.0 H
110182 10 8.5 85.0 H
110183 11 7.0 77.0 H
110184 9 4.0 36.0 L
110185 9 5.0 45.0 M
110186 11 7.5 82.5 H
110187 9 7.0 63.0 M
110188 10 8.5 85.0 H
110189 9 5.0 45.0 M
110190 10 9.0 90.0 VH
110191 11 8.5 93.5 VH
110192 11 6.5 71.5 M
110193 12 6.5 78.0 H
110194 12 7.5 90.0 VH
110195 10 5.0 50.0 M
110196 9 5.0 45.0 M
110197 11 7.0 77.0 H
110198 11 4.0 44.0 M
110199 10 5.5 55.0 M
110200 11 5.0 55.0 M
110201 11 5.0 55.0 M
110202 13 4.0 52.0 M
110203 10 5.5 55.0 M
170005 12 5.0 60.0 M
170006 11 7.0 77.0 H
Watershed Identification Sensitivity Rating 1 Condition Rating 2 Sensitivity Condition Rating 3 Risk of Cumulative Effects
170007 11 7.0 77.0 H
170008 11 6.0 66.0 M
170009 12 6.0 72.0 M
170010 11 6.0 66.0 M
170011 11 8.0 88.0 VH
170012 10 7.0 70.0 M
170013 12 6.0 72.0 M
170014 12 6.0 72.0 M
170015 12 6.0 72.0 M
170016 12 8.0 96.0 VH
170017 10 9.0 90.0 VH
170018 12 9.0 108.0 VH
170019 11 8.0 88.0 VH
170020 11 6.0 66.0 M
170021 12 6.0 72.0 M
170022 11 7.0 77.0 H
170023 11 3.0 33.0 L
170024 11 4.0 44.0 M
170025 11 5.0 55.0 M
170026 9 7.0 63.0 M
170027 12 6.0 72.0 M
170029 10 3.0 30.0 L
170030 11 6.0 66.0 M
170031 10 7.0 70.0 M
170032 10 6.0 60.0 M
170033 11 5.0 55.0 M
170034 10 6.0 60.0 M
170035 11 7.0 77.0 H
170036 10 7.0 70.0 M
170038 11 6.0 66.0 M
170039 10 7.0 70.0 M
170040 12 7.0 84.0 H
170041 11 8.0 88.0 VH


Footnotes:
1Sensitivity Rating. Based on the erosion potential, steepness of slope, amount of alluvial channels, risk of rain-on-snow and/or thunderstorms, and on the ability to revegetate. Rating factors are 1(low), 2 (medium), and 3 (high), or in the case of revegetation potential, 1 (high), 2 (medium), and 3 (low).
SCORE: < 8 (low). 7.5-12.5 (moderate). >12.5 (high)

2Condition Rating. Based on the road density inside and outside the near stream area, the number of road/stream crossings, the condition of the alluvial channels, and the amount of area disturbed by land uses, minus a recovery factor.
A rating of 1 is low/good, 2 is moderate/fair, and 3 is high/poor.

SCORE: < 4.5 (low). 4.5-7.5 (moderate). > 7.5 (high)

3Sensitivity/Condition Score. This is simply the Sensitivity score multiplied by the Condition Score. The numbers were sorted as shown in Table N-9.


Table N-9. Risk of Cumulative Effects.
Sensitivity Condition Score Risk of Cumulative Effects
less than 39 Low
30-72 Moderate
73-85 High
greater 85 Very High

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