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Legal ecotones: A comparative analysis of riparian policy protection in the Oregon Coast Range, USA

Author(s):

Brett A. Boisjolie
Mary V. Santelmann
Sally L. Duncan

Year:

2017

Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Source:

Journal of Environmental Management. 197: 206-220.

Description

Waterways of the USA are protected under the public trust doctrine, placing responsibility on the state to safeguard public resources for the benefit of current and future generations. This responsibility has led to the development of management standards for lands adjacent to streams. In the state of Oregon, policy protection for riparian areas varies by ownership (e.g., federal, state, or private), land use (e.g., forest, agriculture, rural residential, or urban) and stream attributes, creating varying standards for riparian land-management practices along the stream corridor. Here, we compare state and federal riparian landmanagement standards in four major policies that apply to private and public lands in the Oregon Coast Range. We use a standard template to categorize elements of policy protection: (1) the regulatory approach, (2) policy goals, (3) stream attributes, and (4) management standards. All four policies have similar goals for achieving water-quality standards, but differ in their regulatory approach. Plans for agricultural lands rely on outcome-based standards to treat pollution, in contrast with the prescriptive policy approaches for federal, state, and private forest lands, which set specific standards with the intent of preventing pollution. Policies also differ regarding the stream attributes considered when specifying management standards. Across all policies, 25 categories of unique standards are identified. Buffer widths vary from 0 to ~152 m, with no buffer requirements for streams in agricultural areas or small, non-fish-bearing, seasonal streams on private forest land; narrow buffer requirements for small, nonfish- bearing perennial streams on private forest land (3 m); and the widest buffer requirements for fish-bearing streams on federal land (two site-potential tree-heights, up to an estimated 152 m). Results provide insight into how ecosystem concerns are addressed by variable policy approaches in multiownership landscapes, an important consideration to recovery-planning efforts for threatened species.

Citation

Boisjolie, Brett A.; Santelmann, Mary V.; Flitcroft, Rebecca L.; Duncan, Sally L. 2017. Legal ecotones: A comparative analysis of riparian policy protection in the Oregon Coast Range, USA. Journal of Environmental Management. 197: 206-220. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.03.075.

Cited

Publication Notes

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/54218