Castle Creek Watersheds - Treatments and Practices
The results from the moist-site cut on North Fork and the single-tree
selection harvest on South Fork of Workman Creek indicated that even-aged
management could maintain long-term timber production and improve water.
The 2 Castle Creek Watersheds, East Fork and West Fork, were used to test
Harvesting during treatment on West Fork of Castle Creek
In 1965, one -sixth of the area of the West Fork was harvested in irregular
blocks fitted to stand conditions. The remaining area was placed into
optimum growing condition by thinning and sanitation operations. The idea
was to duplicate commercial forest management using a 120-yr rotation
and a 20-yr cutting cycle. The harvest reduced watershed basal area from
135 to 63 ft2/acre. Harvest blocks were planted with ponderosa pine for
A debate concerning the impacts of aggressive fire suppression on forest
health and the potential dangers of stand-replacing wildfires began in
the middle 1970s. Forest history studies indicate that before fire suppression,
most wildfires were surface fires that reduced fuel loadings, improved
seedbeds, thinned advance regeneration, and retarded the establishment
of shade-tolerant species. Managers attempting to reintroduce fire into
the region's forests, often found it difficult because of heavy fuel buildups.
Therefore, in 1981 a second watershed treatment was initiated at Castle
Creek to test the effects of preharvest prescribed burning on water parameters.
The treatment was applied to the East Fork, which had previously served
as the control watershed. Analyses of the data indicated that this approach
was valid because the streamflow annual volume relationship between West
Fork and East Fork had remained constant since 1967. The fire was ignited
in November 1981 and burned about 503 acres or 43% of the watershed. Surface
fuels were consumed, while the middle forest floor layer was only slightly
charred and few downed logs were totally consumed. Changes in the residual
stand were minimal and tree mortality was 1% of the basal area.
Views of mixed conifer type
Castle Creek Watersheds: Treatments & Practices | Results
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