Inland West Watershed
Reconnaissance in R4
Chief of the Forest Service identified watershed health and restoration as a
key emphasis area in the Forest Service Natural Resource Agenda. The
implications for our on-the-ground management strategies are to:
maintenance and restoration of watershed health an overriding priority in
future forest plans and provide measures for monitoring purposes.
increase stream and
riparian area restoration by 40% by 1999.
effect a 30% increase in habitat restoration and conservation of Threatened,
Endangered, and Sensitive species.
improve efforts to
prevent non-native species from entering or spreading in watersheds.
This coincides with the Regional Forester's
agenda for restoring populations of Bonneville cutthroat trout, as per the
"Conservation Agreement and Strategy for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout in the State
proactively pursuing these agenda. The Technology Transfer Group works closely
with the Fish Habitat Unit at the Boise location of the Rocky Mountain
Research Station. Our objective is to develop practical applications of
scientific findings for on-the-ground management. This includes exploring new
ways to use current technology, such as GIS and remote sensing, and modeling,
such as population viability analysis. One current interest is the use of
multi-scale analysis to assess the current condition of fish habitat and to
understand what effect that has on the distribution and population viability
of native fish species. This integrates our newly emerging understanding and
appreciation of metapopulation theory with landscape processes.
Region 4 is
currently participating in the Inland West Water Initiative. One potential
product of this project is a seamless spatial coverage of the current
knowledge of the condition of our watersheds and of the distribution of native
fish. Attached to that coverage will be a tabular dataset of the following
Watershed Geomorphic Integrity
soil/ hydrologic functions; physical soil-stream resilience.
- outstanding fishery, instream flow, public water supply, outstanding
recreation, cultural site, Research Natural Area.
- bank damage, sediment load, channel modification, flow disruption, thermal
change, chemical contamination, biological stress.
Watershed Water Quality Integrity
- derived from damaged segments
- relative risk to disturbance.
- status and distribution of fish (species of concern and introduced species)
on NFS lands.
- dams and diversions.
Our lab has assembled the status calls for
several Cutthroat Trout (Bonneville, Colorado River and Yellowstone, as well as
known hybrid populations), other imperiled native species, such as, Desert
Sucker, Spinedace, Utah Chub, AND many of those pesky introduced species -
Rainbow, Brook, and Brown Trouts, Arctic Grayling, Bass, Kokanee, Golden Trout.
These databases can be joined, in ArcView, to the spatial coverage for the 6th
code Hydrologic Units to produce a display of the known distribution and status
of any of these species across Region 4. See
What's in the future?
when combined with a map of the historical distribution of fish species of
interest and with information from other landowners and agencies, will provide
the framework for developing restoration and conservation strategies. Two
- Collaborative stewardship
encourages joint participation to effect a successful outcome, and
- A broad-scale plan allows
us to focus limited federal funds, for inventory or rehabilitation, in the
most critical watersheds.