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T&D > Programs Areas > Engineering > Soil & Water Road Condition Index (SWRCI) Program Areas

Soil & Water Road Condition Index (SWRCI)

Alan Yamada, Program Leader

Carolyn Napper , Project Leader

Project Background

In the words of the last Undersecretary of Agriculture Jim Lyons, "The single most important thing that could be done to improve the water quality in the National Forests is to fix the roads!" In spite of such awareness of road impacts on watershed at high levels of government, there is still no procedure to measure how maintenance condition of a road or system of roads impacts watershed resources in an auditable and reproducible manner. To address these concerns T&D was asked to produce the following products:

  1. A soil and water road condition index for unpaved roads.
  2. A guidebook publication for use by watershed specialists to use in determining the soil and water road condition index.
  3. A training module for training personnel in use of the index and guidebook.


To understand the current state of knowledge regarding soil and water road condition indices or ratings, San Dimas T&D conducted a literature search and solicited input from the field. Numerous road condition forms were sent to San Dimas T&D. Each form was reviewed and analyzed for key indicators that help specialist quantify existing and potential soil and water impacts caused by roads. Subsequent field visits to regions that had contributed forms occurred during the summer of 2006.

In addition San Dimas T&D developed a SWRCI form that synthesizes the key indicators common to other forest forms.

Current Status

San Dimas T&D has completed the project and we are awaiting final layout and printing. In the meantime the SWRCI forms are available for use by clicking on the links below. This web page provides provides information and links to other forest documents that theuser can access. Photographs of road conditions throughout the country are available.

Available SWRCI Products