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Data Information and Reporting for Indicator D.a.
Oregon Indicator of Sustainable Forest Management D.a.
Water quality of forest streams
 

Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy D:
Indicator D.a. is one of three indicators that will measure progress towards achieving Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy D: Protect, maintain, and enhance soil and water resources of Oregon's forests.
 
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Other Indicators for
Stategy D Reporting
________
 
 
 

Desired Trend
Water quality index values in forested Oregon watersheds are stable or improving.1
 
_________________________________
 
1 The Oregon Progress Board has established the following statewide targets considering all land uses:
  • Seventy-five percent of momitored stream sites with significantly INCREASING trends in water quality (over 10 years)
  • Zero percent of monitored stream sites with significantly DECREASING trends in water quality
  • Forty-five percent of monitored stream sites with water quality in GOOD OR EXCELLENT condition (over 10 years)
 

At-a-Glance: Condition, Trend, and Information
 

Condition:Trend:Information:
Good
Uncertain
Partial
Good 
Uncertain 
Partial 

Why is this indicator important?
This is a photo of a stream
Soil and water are basic elements of forest productivity. Forest soils are also an important part of the regulation of surface and groundwater flow. The interaction of soil and water plays an important role in the health of the streams and rivers flowing through Oregon's forests.
 
Clean water is critical to our quality of life. More than half of Oregon's population depends on water supplies that originate on or are protected in part by forestlands. Oregonians depend on high-quality water for drinking water, fisheries, industry, recreation, and agriculture.
 
A variety of activities occurring on forestlands, including forest management (timber harvesting and road construction and use), fire suppression, recreation, and livestock grazing, can affect soil and water resources. Disturbances that trigger large erosion events can produce important changes in aquatic conditions. These episodic changes are critical in maintaining aquatic habitat over time.
 

What does this indicator tell us about sustainable forest management?
Condition:

 Good
Good

At the state scale, data collected between 1998 and 2007 indicate over ninety percent of the sampled sites on forestlands showed an Oregon Water Quality Index in good or excellent condition, and the remaining sites in fair or lower condition. 
 
Water quality was highest in the Willamette, Middle Columbia, and Lower Columbia hydrologic units.  Overall water quality in the North Coast was intermediate compared to the other units. The South Coast showed the lowest overall water quality.
 
Water quality is typically considered to be a major issue in several state hydrologic units, such as the Willamette. However, it is important to note these indicator results are reflective of conditions of forested lands only.  Water quality was highest for generally higher elevation, higher stream gradient federal sites, with 97 percent in good or better conditions.  State sites showed 89 percent in good or better conditions.  Private industrial sites had 87 percent in good or better conditions. Private non-industrial sites, which are more likely to be intermixed with other land uses, had 77 percent in good or better conditions, and should perhaps be the highest priority for closer future study.
 
Two water quality measures, biochemical oxygen demand and total solids sub-indices, showed the lowest percentages of sites in excellent condition across all reporting units and ownership classes.  Previous studies have shown high total solids to be a significant risk to stream biota.  High biochemical oxygen demand and total solids can prove to be harmful to drinking water and impair biological condtions.  Future monitoring using ecoregion reference sites to evaluate chemistry, rather than the Oregon Water Quality Index benchmarks, may lead to different conclusions regarding biolochemical oxygen demand conditions.  (Hubler et. al., 2009)
 
A summary of water quality conditions based on Oregon’s Ambient Monitoring Network shows forest sites to generally have better water quality than observed on other land uses.  (Cude, undated)

Trend:

 
Uncertain
Trend information is not available specific to forestlands.  A long-term, random sampling design is recommended to improve forestland trend analyses.  Statewide, since 2000, the percentage of ambient monitoring sites across all land uses with declining trends has been steadily increasing. The reasons for this decline are unclear and they do not appear related to land use. It is important to note that about half of the ambient sites statewide, and a much higher percentage of forest sites, continue to have “good” to “excellent” water quality and that has remained fairly consistent over the last 10 years.  Increasing trends in water quality index have also been observed.  On sites showing significant improvement that are not affected by point source discharges, such improvements may be attributed to reduced levels of non-point source activity, increased education about water quality impacts, and watershed restoration efforts.  Underlying all of these factors is flow.  As Oregon returns, in stages, from drought to the wet phase of the long-term cycle, flows and water quality improves.  (Mrazik, 2008; Cude, undated)

Information:

 Symbol: Partial
Partial
Most of the water quality data were collected on a single site visit. The data do not represent the daily, seasonal, or annual variability of the conditions at a location. It is a snapshot of one period in time and its associated disturbances, natural and anthropogenic. However, when aggregated with hundreds of other sites to describe a larger spatial scale, some of the daily, seasonal and yearly variability is represented by using the site results as a sample that describes the larger spatial scale.  These data also represent conditions primarily during the summer months and may not be representative of conditions throughout the year. While the data distribution was fairly comprehensive on forest lands across the state, a more rigorous probabilistic sampling is recommended for better landscape and trend assessments. (Hubler)

Types of information produced by this indicator
This indicator will produce tabular, graphical, and map information that integrate complex analytical water quality data and generates a single number expressing the degree of impairment of a given water body.

Map: Site Locations for Water Quality (OWQI) and Macroinvertebrate (Bugs)
This is a map showing the site locations sampling water quality (Oregon Water Quality Index) and macroinvertebrate (bugs)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Figure 1
Printable [JPG] map 
 

Water Quality Parameters used in the Oregon Water Quality Index
Table 1. Water quality parameters used in the Oregon Water Quality Index.
 
 

ParameterUnits
Temperaturedegrees C
Dissolved Oxygenmg/l
Dissolved Oxygen Percent Saturation%
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD-5)mg/l
pHSU
Total Solidsmg/l
Ammoniamg/l
Nitrate + Nitritemg/l
Total Phosphatemg/l
 

Reporting Units
Table 2: Reporting Units (state and 3rd-field HUCs) and whether or not ownership was assessed. 
 


 
Reporting Unit
 
Biological
Ownership
Oregon
 
       
North Coast 
 
South Coast 
 
Willamette 
 
Lower Columbia 
 
Middle Columbia 
 
Lower Snake 
 
Deschutes 
 
John Day 
 
Klamath
 
No forest sites
Oregon Closed Basins
 
No forest sites
Middle Snake/Boise
 
No forest sites
Middle Snake/Powder
 
No forest sites

Report: Conditions of Water Chemistry for forested sites across Oregon
 
Conditions of Water Chemistry for forested sites across Oregon.  OWQI means Oregon Water Quality Index and Percent of forest lands sites in various condition classes for seven water quality parameters and the Oregon Water Quality Index.  Summary results were not determined for hydrologic units or ownership classes with a sample size less than 20. (Hubler et. al., 2009).
 
 


Condition ClassificationsCondition Classifications
 Excellent Poor
 Good Very Poor
Fair 
 
______________________________________________________________________________________
 
Oregon
 
 
 

Oregon
Federal
State
Private
Industrial
Private Non-
Industrial
Sample Size (Total=424)
424
237
88
80
49
   
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
      Excellent
64
71
39
64
49
      Good 
15
13
21
21
12
      Fair 
10
8
29
4
18
      Poor 
8
5
4
9
20
      Very Poor 
3
2
7
3
0
Dissolved Oxygen (DO)
      Excellent
87
87
93
90
76
      Good
7
7
4
6
12
      Fair
4
4
4
3
6
      Poor
2
2
0
1
4
      Very Poor
0 (<1)
0
0
0
2
Nitrogen (N)
      Excellent
87
95
61
80
80
      Good
7
3
18
11
14
      Fair
2
1
4
5
2
      Poor
4
2
18
3
4
      Very Poor
0 (<1)
0
0
1
0
Oregon Water Quality Index (OWQI)   
      Excellent
77
86
75
66
59
      Good
14
11
14
21
18
      Fair
4
2
4
5
8
      Poor
4
1
7
4
12
      Very Poor
1
0
0
4
2
pH  
      Excellent
95
94
100
98
92
      Good
3
2
0
3
8
      Fair
1
3
0
0
0
      Poor
0 (<1)
1
0
0
0
      Very Poor
0 (<1)
0
0
0
0
Phosphorus (P)  
      Excellent
76
81
86
68
63
      Good
13
13
4
18
16
      Fair
5
3
7
8
6
      Poor
5
4
4
6
12
      Very Poor
0 (<1)
0
0
1
2
Solids
  
      Excellent
58
68
61
43
39
      Good
12
14
11
10
16
      Fair
9
8
4
13
8
      Poor
16
10
21
28
20
      Very Poor
4
1
4
8
16
Temperature   
      Excellent
90
91
100
93
80
      Good
6
6
0
5
6
      Fair
2
2
0
0
6
      Poor
2
1
0
3
6
      Very Poor
0 (<1)
0
0
0
2
 
______________________________________________________________________________________
 
 

 
North Coast                                                             South Coast
 

       
 
 


North Coast
          
South Coast
            
Sample Size (Total)
75
            
105
             
                         
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)                         
      Excellent
53
            
66
             
      Good 
19
            
16
             
      Fair 
11
            
9
             
      Poor 
12
            
5
             
      Very Poor 
5
            
5
             
Dissolved Oxygen (DO)                         
      Excellent
92
            
82
             
      Good
5
            
9
             
      Fair
3
            
8
             
      Poor
0
            
1
             
      Very Poor
0
            
1
             
Nitrogen (N)                         
      Excellent
63
            
94
             
      Good
16
            
5
             
      Fair
5
            
0
             
      Poor
16
            
0
             
      Very Poor
0
            
1
             
Oregon Water Quality Index (OWQI)                          
      Excellent
73
            
66
             
      Good
19
            
15
             
      Fair
4
            
8
             
      Poor
3
            
9
             
      Very Poor
1
            
3
             
pH                         
      Excellent
100
            
94
             
      Good
0
            
5
             
      Fair
0
            
1
             
      Poor
0 (<1)
            
1
             
      Very Poor
0 (<1)
            
0 (<1)
             
Phosphorus (P)                          
      Excellent
79
            
80
             
      Good
12
            
9
             
      Fair
5
            
6
             
      Poor
4
            
5
             
      Very Poor
0
            
1
             
Solids
                         
      Excellent
56
            
31
             
      Good
16
            
16
             
      Fair
11
            
10
             
      Poor
17
            
29
             
      Very Poor
0
            
14
             
Temperature                          
      Excellent
84
            
89
             
      Good
13
            
6
             
      Fair
1
            
2
             
      Poor
1
            
3
             
      Very Poor
0
            
1
             
 
______________________________________________________________________________________
 

 
Willamette                                                                  Lower Columbia
 


       
 
 



Willamette
           
Lower Columbia
            
Sample Size (Total)
145
            
32
             
                         
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)                         
      Excellent
72
            
53
             
      Good 
12
            
16
             
      Fair 
7
            
22
             
      Poor 
7
            
9
             
      Very Poor 
1
            
0
             
Dissolved Oxygen (DO)                         
      Excellent
94
            
94
             
      Good
3
            
3
             
      Fair
1
            
0
             
      Poor
2
            
3
             
      Very Poor
0
            
0
             
Nitrogen (N)                         
      Excellent
91
            
75
             
      Good
6
            
16
             
      Fair
2
            
6
             
      Poor
1
            
3
             
      Very Poor
0
            
0
             
Oregon Water Quality Index (OWQI)                          
      Excellent
88
            
78
             
      Good
7
            
13
             
      Fair
3
            
3
             
      Poor
2
            
6
             
      Very Poor
0
            
0
             
pH                         
      Excellent
97
            
97
             
      Good
2
            
0
             
      Fair
1
            
0
             
      Poor
0
            
0
             
      Very Poor
0
            
3
             
Phosphorus (P)                          
      Excellent
81
            
75
             
      Good
10
            
13
             
      Fair
5
            
6
             
      Poor
4
            
3
             
      Very Poor
0
            
3
             
Solids
                         
      Excellent
74
            
72
             
      Good
8
            
0
             
      Fair
7
            
6
             
      Poor
9
            
16
             
      Very Poor
1
            
6
             
Temperature                          
      Excellent
95
            
97
             
      Good
2
            
3
             
      Fair
1
            
0
             
      Poor
1
            
0
             
      Very Poor
0
            
0
             
 ______________________________________________________________________________________
 
 

Middle Columbia
 
 
 
 

Middle Columbia
                        
Sample Size (Total)
20
                           
                           
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)                           
      Excellent
70
                           
      Good 
10
                           
      Fair 
20
                           
      Poor 
0
                           
      Very Poor 
0
                           
Dissolved Oxygen (DO)                           
      Excellent
95
                           
      Good
0
                           
      Fair
0
                           
      Poor
5
                           
      Very Poor
0
                           
Nitrogen (N)                           
      Excellent
100
                           
      Good
0
                           
      Fair
0
                           
      Poor
0
                           
      Very Poor
0
                           
Oregon Water Quality Index (OWQI)                           
      Excellent
80
                           
      Good
20
                           
      Fair
0
                           
      Poor
0
                           
      Very Poor
0
                           
pH                           
      Excellent
95
                           
      Good
0
                           
      Fair
5
                           
      Poor
0
                           
      Very Poor
0
                           
Phosphorus (P)                           
      Excellent
85
                           
      Good
10
                           
      Fair
0
                           
      Poor
5
                           
      Very Poor
0
                           
Solids
                           
      Excellent
40
                           
      Good
30
                           
      Fair
5
                           
      Poor
25
                           
      Very Poor
0
                           
Temperature                           
      Excellent
100
                           
      Good
0
                           
      Fair
0
                           
      Poor
0
                           
      Very Poor
0
                           
 

Report: Oregon Water Quality Status based on WQI by Land Use
 
Figure 3. Oregon water quality status based on Water Quality Index, by land use, Water years, 1990-1999 (Cude, undated)
 
 

Evaluations by the Oregon Roundtable on Sustainable Forests on this indicator
 
 


References and Reports for Indicator D.a.

Metrics and Data Sources


Metric
Data Source
Physical/chemical properties (temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity of pH, phosphorus, nitrate, ammonium, total solids)Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Biological properties (bacteria, biological oxygen demand)Oregon Department of Environmental Quality


Related State, National, or International Indicators
  • Montreal Process: Criterion 4—Conservation and Maintenance of Soil and Water Resources:  Indicator 18: Area and percent of forest land with significant soil erosion:  2003 Indicator 23:  Percent of water bodies in forest areas (e.g. stream kilometres, lake hectares) with significant variance of biological diversity from the historic range of variability;  2003 Indicator 24: Percent of water bodies in forest areas (e.g. stream kilometers, lake hectares) with significant variation from the historic range of variability in pH, dissolved oxygen, levels of chemicals (electrical conductivity), sedimentation or temperature change; and 2010 Indicator 21: Area and percent of water bodies, or stream length, in forest areas with significant change in physical, chemical or biological properties from reference conditions
  • Heinz Center:  Nitrogen movement, chemical contamination
  • Northeastern Area: Water quality in forested areas
  • Oregon Benchmarks: Environment--79:  Percent of monitored stream sites with (a) increasing and (b) decreasing water quality trends and (c) good to excellent condition.
    Environmental Indicators for the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds: Water Quality Index
  • Oregon State of the Environment Report:  Proportion of monitored stream sites with good to excellent water quality according to the Oregon Water Quality Index