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Rocky Mountain Research Station
Forestry Sciences Laboratory - Moscow, Idaho
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Soil & Water
Engineering Publications


Project Leader:
William J. Elliot
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Reopening abandoned forest roads in northern Idaho, USA: quantification of runoff, sediment concentration, infiltration, and interrill erosion parameters

Foltz, R.B.; Copeland, N.S.; Elliot, W.J. 2009. Reopening abandoned forest roads in northern Idaho, USA: quantification of runoff, sediment concentration, infiltration, and interrill erosion parameters. Journal of Environmental Management 90(2009):2542-2550.

Keywords: road, road recommissioning

Links: pdf PDF (500 KB)

Abstract: This study measured runoff and sediment concentration from the tire track and from the non-tire track to determine infiltration, interrill erodibility, and vegetative cover impacts of reopening an abandoned forest road. Runoff was lowest on the non-track portion of the abandoned road and highest on the reopened road. Sediment concentrations were significantly higher on the reopened road. Increased sediment concentrations were attributed to decreased vegetative cover, rather than traffic-induced changes in the physical soil properties of the reopened road. Thirty years of no traffic and vegetation regrowth was not sufficient to allow recovery of infiltration to values similar to an undisturbed forest. The study also found a significant dynamic behavior in interrill erodibility with respect to antecedent rainfall. Forest road erosion models that fail to account for this change will overestimate sediment yields.

Moscow FSL publication no. 2009p