Paper No. 194-12
Presentation Time: 11:20 AM
INVENTORY AND MONITORING OF GROUNDWATER DEPENDENT ECOSYSTEMS: PROTOCOL IMPLEMENTATION AND RESULTS FOR NATIONAL FORESTS AND GRASSLANDS
In 2012 the US Forest Service published Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs): Level I and II Field Guides in an effort to standardize inventory methods. Level I focused on assessment and planning while Level II focused on project design and analysis. This protocol incorporated a multidisciplinary approach to inventory and assessment that generated great interest in the role groundwater plays in supporting resource areas other than hydrology. Since that time awareness of GDE importance (i.e. increasing biodiversity, instream flow support) has increased inside and outside of the agency. Concurrently, there has been increasing pressures on groundwater from multiple-use activities such mining, oil and gas development, recreation and timber harvest. This environment has validated the need for a consistent approach to GDE inventory and assessment in agency decision making. The agency released the latest Planning Rule in 2012 so both the GDE protocol and the Planning Rule have been in place for five years. We will briefly examine and summarize if and how the GDE protocol has been implemented in variety of projects on National Forest System (NFS) lands, including forest plan revision efforts. Specifically we will look at the following projects: Montanore Mine, climate assessment in the Blue Mountains and a landscape scale timber harvest on the Black Hills National Forest. The Manti-La Sal and Ashley National Forests forest plan revision efforts will also be examined and summarized. We will assess how the protocol is being used to inventory GDEs, use in project assessment and decision making and incorporation into forest plan revision efforts and make recommendations.