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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 17(2)

Evaluating the effectiveness of contour-felled log erosion barriers as a post-fire runoff and erosion mitigation treatment in the western United States

P. R. Robichaud A C, J. W. Wagenbrenner A, R. E. Brown A, P. M. Wohlgemuth B, J. L. Beyers B

A US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 1221 South Main Street, Moscow, ID 83843, USA.
B US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Fire Laboratory, 4955 Canyon Crest Drive, Riverside, CA 92507, USA.
C Corresponding author. Email: probichaud@fs.fed.us
 
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Abstract

Between 1998 and 2002, six sites were established immediately after large wildfires in the western United States to determine the effectiveness of contour-felled log erosion barriers in mitigating post-wildfire runoff and erosion. In each pair of matched, burned, and small watersheds (1–13 ha), one was treated with contour-felled log erosion barriers and one was left untreated as a control. For 4 to 6 post-fire years, runoff and sediment yields were measured and correlated with rain properties. High-intensity rainfall produced most of the measured runoff and sediment yields except in the southern California site, where long-duration rain events produced most of the runoff and erosion. For small rain events (less than the 2-year return period for the 10-min duration), the runoff, peak flows, and sediment yields were lower in the treated watersheds than in the control watersheds, but there was no treatment effect for rain events with larger return periods. Improper installation and degradation over time reduced the effectiveness of contour-felled log erosion barriers. Rainfall characteristics and installation procedures should be carefully considered before choosing contour-felled log erosion barriers for post-fire hillslope stabilisation.

Keywords: catchment, LEB, sediment yield, watershed.


   
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