The Aquatic and Riparian Effectiveness Monitoring Program focuses on assessing the degree to which federal land management under the aquatic conservation strategy (ACS) of the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) has been effective in maintaining and improving watershed conditions. We used stream sampling data and upslope/riparian geographic information system (GIS) and remote-sensing data to evaluate condition for sixth-field watersheds in each aquatic province within the NWFP area. Stream conditions were evaluated based on sampling data collected from 2002 to 2013 (214 watersheds) as part of an 8-year repeating (rotating) sample design. For both rotations, approximately 60 percent of the stream scores fell between 40 and 60 and relatively few (2 percent) were less than 20; no watersheds scored above 80 during either rotation. We detected small but improving status trends in physical habitat, aquatic macroinvertebrates scores, and water temperature. Upslope/riparian condition scores were calculated for 1993 and 2012, and the difference between these two distributions of scores was used to represent trend. In 2012, a total of 26 percent of the overall watershed area received scores above 80, 68 percent scored between 40 and 80, and only 6 percent scored below 40. Since 1993, scores in 16 percent of the NWFP area increased by more than 5 percent, while only 7 percent declined by a similar magnitude. Although at the plan level the mean score changed little (+1), there were broad-scale moderate gains resulting from vegetation growth and larger but more concentrated gains resulting from road decommissioning. These gains, which occurred predominantly in areas most heavily managed prior to the NWFP, were largely offset by high declines in scores stemming from large fires, particularly in reserve areas.
Miller, Stephanie A.; Gordon, Sean N.; Eldred, Peter; Beloin, Ronald M.; Wilcox, Steve; Raggon, Mark; Andersen, Heidi; Muldoon, Ariel. 2017. Northwest Forest Plan—the first 20 years (1994–2013): watershed condition status and trends. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-932. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 74 p.