Effectiveness monitoring for the aquatic and riparian component of the Northwest Forest Plan: conceptual framework and options
Plan is intended to characterize the ecological condition of watersheds and aquatic ecosystems. So to determine the effectiveness of the Northwest Forest Plan to meet relevant objectives, this report presents the conceptual foundation of options for use in pilot testing and implementing an effectiveness monitoring program for aquatic and riparian systems. The base program would evaluate status and trends of watershed, stream, and riparian conditions by using decision-support models. Although
... models. Although the focus of AREMP is on characterizing ecosystem status and trend, implementing it will also supply information that will be useful in determining causal relations to help explain those trends. Abstract Under the direction of the Regional Interagency Executive Committee, which oversees the implementation and management of the Northwest Forest Plan (Forest Plan), multiagency federal teams have been developing monitoring programs to evaluate the effectiveness of the Forest Plan. Initial priorities assigned by the federal agencies for monitoring include the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), late-successional and old-growth forests, and aquatic and riparian ecosystems (Mulder et al. 1999). The work group (i.e., the authors) was directed by the Research Executives (i.e., directors of the primary research organizations associated with the Northwest Forest Plan) to develop the conceptual foundation of and options for the components of the effectiveness monitoring plan for the aquatic and riparian portion of the Northwest Forest Plan. The work group presented reviews of its work to various oversight groups during the development process. The group was directed to suggest components for the initial phase of the monitoring plan to the Research Executives, who then presented these to Interagency Advisory Committee (IAC) and the Regional Interagency Executive Committee (RIEC) for acceptance and implementation. A variety of alternatives were considered for implementing an effectiveness monitoring strategy. They included: Sampling intensity-The suggested number of sample units ranges from 50 to 200 units per year, and the length of return cycle considered ranges from 1 to 10 years. Possible sampling units included sixth-and seventh-field hydrologic units and third-and fourth-order watersheds. Complete or composite watersheds-Alternatives considered included sampling only complete watersheds or including both complete and composite watersheds. Summary of Alternatives for Implementation Indicator sampling-Ninety indicators being used in different protocols were considered with a smaller number suggested for initial implementation. Biological sampling-Alternatives considered focusing on macroinvertebrates, fish, amphibians, or including all three groups. Management practices-An alternative for consideration could include monitoring the effectiveness of management practices. Data acquisition-Alternatives considered to acquiring data included the use of: • A centralized interagency monitoring team. • Existing agency resources. • Contracting out to an independent source. • A combination of these approaches. The development team was directed to make suggestions for the initial phases of AREMP. These were: Sampling intensity-Monitor 50 watersheds a year over a 5-year repeat cycle for a total of 250 watersheds. Complete or composite watersheds-Include both complete and composite watersheds in the sampling regime. Indicator sampling-Measure a core set of 20 indicators. Biological sampling-Include efficient approaches and shared data for macroinvertebrate, amphibian, and fish sampling. Management practices-Include this form of monitoring, potentially patterned on the program used by the Forest Service in California. Data acquisition-Implement the monitoring program with field-sampled indicators collected by using standardized protocols by a centralized interagency team. Pilot tests-Conduct pilot tests in 2000 and 2001 to work through some of the questions about protocols and logistics. Characterizing regional aquatic and riparian system status and trend-Use frequency distributions of individual indicator data and frequency distributions of overall watershed condition from the AREMP knowledge-based DSMs. Decision-support model (DSM)-Use to evaluate watershed condition. A DSM is a tool that aids a consistent and systematic interpretation of acquired data by using the best science available. The information from individual indicators using standardized protocols would be preserved and is not changed by the use of the DSM. Integrating AREMP and implementation monitoring analyses of watersheds-Will provide information for the adaptive management process. The initial AREMP was premised upon adequate funding to do all components. The AREMP team provided alternatives for many of the components that could be substituted for the suggestion components if needed. These are described in the document.