STREAMSIDES AND STREAM CROSSINGS

Streamside Management Zones (SMZ's) are strips of land which border surface waters and in which management activities are adjusted to protect or enhance riparian and aquatic values. The width of SMZ's varies with the intended purpose. An example would be a strip managed for shade or larger trees to help maintain cooler water temperatures or provide large woody debris to streams.

Filter Strips are strips of land bordering surface waters and sufficient in width, based on slope and roughness factors, to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation of surface water.

Establish a streamside management zone with a minimum width equivalent to one and one half tree heights between heavy harvest cuts such as clearcuts or seed tree cuts and permanent and intermittent streams to prevent nutrient leaching into streams.

Establish a streamside management zone on perennial and intermittent streams. Maintain 50 percent crown cover to limit water and ground surface temperature increases. Manage for older trees at the water's edge to provide a natural supply of large woody debris and to shade the water surface. The necessary width of the zone will vary with climate and stream direction. SMZ's should normally be one and one half tree heights in width, however, due to sun position, a fifteen foot width may be all that is necessary on the north side of east?west running stream sections in northern latitudes.

Within the streamside management zone, maximize cable lengths and minimize the number and length of skid trails to reduce canopy and ground disturbance.

Establish filter strips on lands adjacent to lakes and streams using the following guide to control erosion and sedimentation of surface waters.


Percent slope Recommended width of filter strip
(slope distance in feet)
0 - 1 25
2 - 10 30-50
11 - 20 50 - 70
21 - 40 70 - 110
41 - 70 110 - 170


Roads and trails should be minimized in streamside management zones, but should be located outside of the filter strips except where stream crossing is necessary.

Naturally occurring woody debris should be allowed to remain in streams. However, avoid felling trees into streams and remove from the streams any tree tops and other slash resulting from the logging operation. In some cases, potential damage to the channel and bank will outweigh the need for removal.


FELLING PRACTICES

Precautions should be taken when logging near a wetland or stream. Felling trees into water bodies can cause habitat damage and disturb breeding and spawning areas of amphibious and aquatic species. However, naturally occurring woody debris is necessary to many stream functions and should be left undisturbed.

Avoid felling trees into nonforested wetlands. When such felling is unavoidable, remove the tree to high ground before limbing. Slash from trees felled on upland sites is considered fill material under the clean water act and may not be deposited on wetland sites.

Keep slash resulting from the logging operation out of streams and wetlands with standing water unless specifically prescribed for fish or wildlife habitat purposes. Normally, slash left in these areas uses oxygen needed by fish and other aquatic animals. Slash can also limit access of certain species to wetlands.

Review the section on vernal pools and temporary ponds for exceptions to these guidelines.


SILVICULTURE

Distribute the size, timing and spacing of regeneration cuts, including clearcuts, to minimize changes in ground surface and water temperature over the wetland as a whole. Maintain a crown cover of fifty percent or more during selection and thinning cuts. Exceptions may occur in very cold climates where low water temperatures are a habitat limitation.

On organic soils, conduct site preparation operations such as shearing and raking only when the ground is sufficiently frozen to avoid machinery breaking through the root mat.

Do not deposit slash and other residues from upland operations in wetlands.


WILDLIFE AND FISH

GENEERAL CONSIDERATIONS

Timber activities in forested wetlands should be avoided during the breeding period of threatened and endangered fish and wildlife species known to inhabit the wetland.

Preserve areas where hummocks of thick sphagnum moss abut small or large pools of water as a unique habitat combination required by the four-toed salamander.

An area of sphagnum humps, Four-toed salamander

In order to survive, four-toed salamander eggs
A wood duck chick Avoid harvesting trees in wetlands April through June to protect breeding birds in cluding neotropicals.

Leave as many as 15 dead and live nesting cavity trees per acre within 200 feet of water as nesting sites for wood ducks.

Avoid sedimentation of areas known to support spawning populations of brook trout, particularly during the October-December spawning season.

Adult male wood duck



WITHIN A 50 FOOT WIDE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT ZONE AROUND WETLANDS

Maintain 50 percent crown cover to avoid wide water and soil temperature fluctuations that can adversely affect fish and aquatic and amphibian habitat.

Leave 5-15 dead standing trees and snags per acre for insect feeding and for nesting and escape cavities for birds.

Manage for tall trees along the edge of lakes and rivers associated with wetlands to provide nesting sites for ospreys, eagles, and red-shouldered hawks.

Avoid disturbing rotting stumps where possible as they provide nesting substrate for musk turtles.
An osprey


the orange ear patchWithin calcareous fens where chalky, crumbly deposits are evident in surface pools, preserve and encourage scrub and/or shrub habitat as important over-wintering habitat for rare bog turtles. Encourage and preserve herbaceous vegetative cover along wetland edges to provide shelter for frogs, ribbon snakes, hatching turtles, and small mammals. Minimize skid trails and/or use cabling to reduce the area of soil compaction thus preserving habitat for small mammals and turtles.


WITHIN A 150 FOOT WIDE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT ZONE AROUND WETLANDS

Avoid routing skid trails through areas with concentrations of physical structure such as dead logs, hollow logs, upturned roots, rock piles, rock outcrops and other debris.

Structure created by logs

Minimize skid trail density and heavy equipment use to avoid crushing the many turtles such as the spotted turtle, wood turtle and Blanding's turtle that either forage or aestivate (become dormant during the summer) in these areas.

Minimize ruts deeper than 6 inches below general ground level and regrade trails promptly to prevent trapping of juvenile salamanders and hatchling turtles.

Close logging roads and skid trails to vehicle use after cutting because exposed areas and pools that form where roads and trails cross wet areas are attractive hazards for turtles.

Avoid clearcutting in favor of harvesting methods that maintain a greater canopy cover like patch cuts, shelterwood cuts and selection cuts. Where clearcuts are unavoidable, cuts should be less than 10 acres in size and narrow and irregular in shape.


SPRING SEEPS

Do not skid through seeps.

Fell trees away from seeps.

Maintain at least 50 percent crown cover in the group of trees shading the seep to limit increases in water and ground surface temperature.

Avoid disturbing the soil around these areas to minimize sedimentation and disturbance of leaf litter.

Where haul roads must cross seeps, locate the haul road at least 150 ft. downslope from the origin of the seep. Also avoid road building within 150 ft. upslope from seeps. Both limitations are intended to protect the origin and continued flow of the seep.


VERNAL PONDS

Examples of BMP's presented in the section on Vernal Ponds are based on BMP's developed by researchers, foresters and wildlife biologists in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York. Research is continuing in this area and changes are expected as more is learned about the importance of vernal ponds.

Vernal ponds provide critical habitat for a number of amphibians and invertebrates, some of which breed only in these unique ecosystems, and/or may be rare, threatened or endangered species. Although vernal ponds may only hold water for a period in the spring, the most important protective measure is learning to recognize these pond locations, even in the dry season. Foresters can then incorporate the guidelines below into their plans to ensure that these habitats thrive.

Maintain the physical integrity of the pond depression and its ability to hold seasonal water by keeping heavy equipment out of the pond depression and away from the perimeter walls at all times of the year. Rutting here could cause the water to drain too early, stranding amphibian eggs before they hatch. Compaction could alter water flow and harm eggs and/or larvae buried in leaf litter at the bottom of the depression.

Prevent sedimentation from nearby areas of disturbed soil to prevent disrupting the pond's breeding environment.

Keep tree tops and slash out of the pond depression. Although amphibians often use twigs up to an inch in diameter to attach their eggs, none should be added, nor existing branches removed. If an occasional top does land in the pond depression, leave it. Removal could disturb newly laid eggs or hatched salamanders.

Establish a buffer zone around the pond two chains (132 feet) in width. Maintain a minimum of 50 percent crown cover and minimize disturbance of the leaf litter and mineral soil which insulate the ground and create proper moisture and temperature conditions for amphibian migrations.

Schedule operations in the buffer area when the ground is frozen and covered with snow to minimize ground disturbance within the buffer area.

Avoid operating in the buffer area during muddy conditions which would create ruts deeper than 6 inches. Such ruts can result in trapping and predation of migrating juveniles and dehydration of mistakenly deposited eggs. Ruts should be filled and operations suspended until the ground is dry or frozen.

Locate landings and heavily used skid trails outside of the buffer area. Be sure any water diversion structures associated with skid trails and roads keep sediment from entering the shaded zone and the vernal pond.

Silt fences are formidable barriers to salamander migration. Do not use them in the buffer area and remove them from nearby areas as soon as practicable.

Close roads in the area to prevent off road vehicle disturbance to the pond and sensitive buffer zone.


LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

Mechanized land clearing and earth moving activities in wetlands, streams or other water bodies are regulated at the Federal level under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Many states also have regulatory programs which may require permits for activities in streams and wetlands. An approved forest management plan may be required by your state regardless of whether wetlands are involved or not.

Normal silvicultural activities which may involve earthmoving are exempt from regulation under section 404 of the Clean Water Act. However, to qualify for the exemption, the activity must be part of an established, ongoing operation. Furthermore, the exemption is interpreted by some to apply only to silvicultural activities resulting in the production of food, fiber and forest products. General permits may exist in some Corps of Engineer districts which authorize silvicultural activities for other purposes.

Any activity which converts a wetland into a non?wetland or affects the flow, circulation or reach of waters is not exempt. Conversion into a new use, such as clearing forested wetlands for pasture, crop land or development, requires a permit as well.

Normal silvicultural practices covered by the silvicultural exemption include planting, seeding, cultivating, minor drainage and harvesting. However, the silvicultural exemption does not include land recontouring activities such as grading, land leveling, filling in low spots or converting to upland. Minor drainage is the connection of upland drainage facilities to a stream or water body. This does not include any new drainage of wetlands or the construction of any ditches or dikes which drain or significantly modify a stream or wetland.

Maintenance of existing drainage ditches, structures and fill is exempt from federal regulation provided there is no modification of the original design. Construction and maintenance of forest roads are exempt if the work is done in accordance with the state approved Best Management Practices (BMP's).

A Federal permit is not needed to cut trees at or above the stump. However, mechanized land clearing, excavation, grading, land leveling, windrowing and road construction in wetlands will require a permit if the activity does not qualify for the silvicultural exemption.

It is recommended that a determination of any specific permit requirements be obtained from the district office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as the state environmental or natural resources agency prior to initiating any activities in water or wetlands. This is particularly important in light of the ongoing changes in wetland regulations at both the state and federal level.

The Food Security Act of 1985 and the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 contain provisions which could cause loss of U.S.D.A. program benefits to persons conducting activities which may alter wetlands. Consult with your local U.S.D.A. Consolidated Farm Services Agency (formerly Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service) or U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) if wetland is present to determine if proposed forest management activities would jeopardize U.S.D.A. benefits.


WHERE TO GO FOR ASSISTANCE

Contact the office of the State Forester for assistance in forest management on both uplands and wetlands. However, forest management activities on wetlands are subject to special regulations.

The District Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the authority to determine which lands are subject to wetland regulations. The telephone number is listed in the "Government Offices" section of the telephone directory, normally under "Army," "Department of the Army" or "Department of Defense." Ask for the "Regulatory" or "Permits" Branch.

The following are the telephone numbers for the Corps of Engineers district offices serving Virginia and the twenty states of the Northeastern Area.

Baltimore, MD ........................................................................ (410)962-3670
Buffalo, NY............................................................................. (716)879-4330
Chicago, IL.............................................................................. (312)353-8213
Detroit, MI............................................................................... (313)226-2432
Huntington, WV....................................................................... (304)529-5487
Kansas City, MO..................................................................... (816)426-3645
Little Rock, AR........................................................................ (501)324-5295
Louisville, KY.......................................................................... (502)582-6461
Memphis, TN........................................................................... (901)544-3471
Waltham, MA (New England Division)..................................... (617)647)8338
New York, NY........................................................................ (212)264-3996
Norfolk, VA............................................................................. (804)441-7652
Philadelphia, PA....................................................................... (215)656-6728
Pittsburgh, PA.......................................................................... (412)644-6872
Rock Island, IL.......................................................................... (309)788-6361 ext 6379
St. Louis, MO........................................................................... (314)331-8575
St. Paul, MN............................................................................. (612)220-0375
Tulsa, OK................................................................................. (918)581-7261


The County Soil Survey Report will provide an indication of whether your property may contain any hydric or wetland soils. These surveys are available from the county office of the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The National Wetland Inventory is another source of information. These maps are produced by the U.S.D.I. Fish and Wildlife Service and correspond to the U.S.D.I. Geological Survey quadrangle maps (7.5 x 7.5 minutes). They can be obtained by calling 1?800?USA?MAPS. These maps are very general and should not be used for any regulatory purpose, but can provide useful information about areas where wetlands can be expected to occur. The only way to accurately determine the extent of wetlands on a property is to have a qualified individual inspect the property.

Information and photography of indicator and threatened and endangered plants can often be obtained from local botanical gardens or arboreta, such as the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania as well as environmental centers and natural resource interest groups such as the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.


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Blue Bar

REFERENCES
America's Endangered Wetlands,1990, U.S.D.I. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Belt, C. B., Jr., 1975, The 1973 flood and man's constriction of the Mississippi River, Science 189:681-684.

Boelter, D.H. and E.S. Very, 1977, Peatland and Water in the Northern Lake States, North Central Forest Experiment Station, St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.D.A. Forest Service General Technical Report NC-31, 22p.

Cassell, R., 1993, The Vernal Pond "More than just a mosquito hole".

Cowardin, L.M., V. Carter, FC. Golet, and E.T. LaRoe, 1979, Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pub. FWS/OBS79/31, Washington, D.C., 103p.

Dahl, T.E., 1990, Wetland Losses in the United States, 1780s to 1980s, U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., 21 p.

DeGraff, R.M., M. Yamasaki, W.B. Leak and J.W. Lanier, New England Wildlife: Management of Forested Habitats, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, General Technical Report NE-144. 271 p.

Gosselink, J.G., W.H. Conner, J.W. Day, Jr., and R.E. Turner, 1981, Classification of wetland resources: land, timber, and ecology, in Timber Harvesting in Wetlands, B.D. Jackson and J.L. Chambers,eds., Div. of Cont. Ed., Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge, pp. 28-48

Johnson, C.W., 1985, Bogs of the Northeast, University Press of New England, Hanover, New Hampshire, 269p.

Larson, J.S. and R.B. Newton, The Value of Wetlands to People and Wildlife, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, U.S.D.A. Cooperative Extension Service, 20p.

Mason, L., Portable Wetland Area and Stream Crossings, Technology & Development Center, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, San Dimas, California, 1990.

Mitsch, W.J. and J.G. Gosselink, 1993, Wetlands, second edition, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, 539p.

Newton, R.B., 1988, Forested Wetlands of the Northeast, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Environmental Institute Publication No. 88-1, 14p.

Payne, N.F, 1992, Techniques for Wildlife Habitat Management of Wetlands, McGraw-Hill Inc., N.Y. 549p.

Reed, P.B., 1988, National List of Plant Species that Occur ire Wetlands: 1988 National Summary, U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Report 88 (24), Washington, D.C., 244p.

Shaw, S.P., and C.G. Fredine, 1956, Wetlands of the United States, Their Extent and Their Value for Waterfowl and Other Wildlife, U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Circular 39, Washington, D.C., 67p.

Thibodeau and Ostro, 1981, An Economic Analysis of Wetlands Protection, Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 12, pp. 19-30.

Tiner, R.W., Jr., 1987, Mid-Atlantic Wetlands A Disappearing Natural Treasure, U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., 28p.

Tiner, R.W., I. Kenenski, T. Nuerminger, J. Eaton, D.B. Foulis, G.S. Smith and W.E. Frayer, 1994, Recent Wetland Status And Trends In The Chesapeake Watershed (1982 To 1989) Technical Report, U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, Massachusetts, 70p.

Labrador Pond, NY Labrador Pond, NY Labrador Pond, NY

Labrador Pond, a poor fen in New York
Donald J. Leopold
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