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    Author(s): Brenda Rosser; Matt O'Connor
    Date: 2007
    Source: In: Standiford, Richard B.; Giusti, Gregory A.; Valachovic, Yana; Zielinski, William J.; Furniss, Michael J., technical editors. 2007. Proceedings of the redwood region forest science symposium: What does the future hold? Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-194. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 445-456
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (213 KB)

    Description

    Fish habitat in cold water streams in many northwestern California watersheds has been declared degraded under provisions of the Federal Clean Water Act, contributing to listings of anadromous fish species under the Endangered Species Act. It is believed that past and present land management activities induce erosion that contributes excess sand-size and finer sediment to stream systems, which then causes an increase in the proportion of fine sediment in spawning gravels. The higher proportion of fine sediment can reduce the rate of survival of eggs. Target thresholds for desirable fine sediment concentrations in spawning beds have been identified based on scientific literature and watershed studies. There are few data describing natural or unimpaired sediment size distributions. This is of concern in the region owing to high natural erosion rates. This study examines data from gravel bed streams collected by McNeil sampling and bulk sediment sampling in northern California (samples typically 25 to 30 kg) and New Zealand (samples typically 50 kg). The McNeil streambed sampling protocol is the preferred method to determine sediment size distributions and stream substrate quality for salmonids in the fisheries literature. Confidence intervals for various percentiles of the grain size distributions were computed from field data using a two-stage sampling approach. Accuracy and precision of data from these sampling programs are considered in relation to the biological/regulatory thresholds as well as the effort required to obtain, process and analyze grain size distributions. Either very large samples, and/or a large number of samples are typically required to obtain data with high precision, suggesting that in many circumstances, it may be difficult to assess whether regulatory thresholds are exceeded.

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    Citation

    Rosser, Brenda; O''Connor, Matt. 2007. Statistical Analysis of Streambed Sediment Grain Size Distributions: Implications for Environmental Management and Regulatory Policy. In: Standiford, Richard B.; Giusti, Gregory A.; Valachovic, Yana; Zielinski, William J.; Furniss, Michael J., technical editors. 2007. Proceedings of the redwood region forest science symposium: What does the future hold? Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-194. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 445-456

    Keywords

    fish habitat, sediment sampling, spawning gravel, statistical analysis

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