British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposia

Erosion control in the Queen Charlotte Islands Carr, William W., 1952- 2010

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Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation               EROSION CONTROL IN THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS by W.W. Carr Department of Soil Science, U.B.C. and C.J. Marchant Botanical Gardens, U.B.C.               147 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation EROSION CONTROL IN THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS INTRODUCTION The Queen Charlotte Islands consist of approximately 150 islands, grouped into a triangular shape, that lie off the northwest coast of British Columbia (Calder and Taylor 1968). The Charlottes are approxi- mately 250 km long and have a maximum width of 85 km. The two major islands are Graham and Moresby. The mountains of the Queen Charlotte Range form the backbone of the Islands with most peaks between 800 m and 1,100 m and a few above 1,300 m. CLIMATE The climate of the Charlottes can be summarized by this statement from Calder and Taylor's Flora of the Queen Charlotte Islands (1968): "The main distinguishing features of the climate of the Queen Charlotte Islands are the very cool summers, the very mild winters, the prevalence of cloudy skies and strong winds, and the excessive late fall and early winter precipitation." The precipitation ranges from 1,550 mm per year on the east side of the Islands to in excess of 7,500 mm on the west coast. The average number of days per year with measurable precipitation ranges from 205 to 249. The 24-hour rainfall may be as high as 12 cm or 15 cm (Toews and WiIford 1978). It is this type of event that causes much of the problems associated with land instability. VEGETATION The Queen Charlotte Islands are within the Coastal Western Hemlock Bio- geoclimatic Zone and the lower elevations are for the most part forested with commercial stands (Toews and Wilford 1978). These stands are composed of western hemlock, Sitka spruce, western red cedar, and yellow cedar. The forested lands are highly productive and still contain a high percentage of large old-growth timber. Forestry is only one of the main industries in the Charlottes, fishing is another. 149 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation FISHERY RESOURCE All five species of Pacific salmonids and the steelhead trout occur in the Queen Charlottes. Approximate average annual escapements of the anadromous salmonids (the number of adult fish returning to spawning streams) are indicated in Table 1 for four watersheds on the south- eastern quarter of Graham Island (Toews and Wilford 1978). The Yakoun is the largest river in the Queen Charlottes and has an extremely high even year pink salmon run as well as providing spawning habitat for the only significant local Chinook salmon stock. It has been noted that escapements of pink salmon were historically much higher than current levels (Toews and Wilford 1978). A decline in the quality and extent of spawning habitat due to forest harvesting practices is thought to be partially responsible for this decline (Toews and Wilford 1978). THE PROBLEM This decline in spawning habitat quality can be partially attributed to forest harvesting and road construction which can lead to an increased incidence of soil mass wasting in steep terrain (Rice et al 1972). Although there are numerous incidences of natural slope instability in the Charlottes, windthrow along clearcut boundaries, debris accumulation in gullies, and changes in drainage as a result of gouging during yarding have all been shown to contribute to accelerated mass wasting in clearcuts. Forest roads have been recognized as a major source of sediment through both surface erosion and mass wasting. Road caused mass wasting is most often associated with inadequate or poorly maintained road drainage structures and overloaded fill/sidecast material. Surface erosion associated with forest roads may not be as spectacular as mass wasting but it can move large volumes of soil for up to 5 years after road construction (Rice et al 1972). In addition, all mass wasted sites are surface erosion sites following the initial soil movement. THE CONFLICT In August 1979, cutting permit #144 of Queen Charlotte Timber became the focal point of a clash between the fisheries and forestry industries. 150 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE   1  AVERAGE  SALMONID  ESCAPEMENT  FROM   1966-1976           __    RIVERS Honna Mamin TIeIl               Yakoun Chum                                                                                      4,800 Coho                                                                                         1,600 2,300 13,000                  7,400 Pinks (even  year)                                                      18,700 40,000 6,200             348,000 Pinks  (odd  year)                                                                  500                                            4,000 800 Sockeye 200 11,000 Chinook 1,700 Steel head 450 5,800 151 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Federal Fisheries revoked their approval for logging in the Riley Creek watershed in Rennell Sound after the scale of mass soil movement was greater than anticipated. They issued a closure to further logging in an effort to prevent further damage to the spawning areas. However, the B.C. Ministry of Forests ordered the company to continue logging based on the initial approval from Federal Fisheries and the fact that over $2 million dollars had been invested in road development. The company followed the orders of the Ministry of Forests and the fallers were arrested by RCMP on charges laid by Federal Fisheries. The resource conflict here and in other parts of the province is far from resolved, but it did serve to focus attention on the negative impact of some forest harvesting activities on the fishery resource. It also pointed out the lack of cooperation between the resource agencies involved. THE EROSION CONTROL PROGRAM In 1978, the B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch requested the Ministry of Forests Research Branch to begin investigating methods of controlling erosion in the Charlottes. It was recognized that controlling surface erosion from roads and mass wasted areas would be an important step in alleviating the sediment problem. The re-establishment of vegetation on denuded slopes was chosen as the most effective and efficient method of achieving this goal. Thus E.P. 834:   The Rehabilitation of Severely Disturbed Forest Land and E.P. 863:  The Propagation of Native Shrub and Tree Species for Controlling Erosion became involved in the Queen Charlotte Islands. E.P. 834 deals primari- ly with grass-legume establishment on denuded soil to control surface erosion and to aid in the return of this land to productive forest. E.P. 863 is concerned with the establishment of woody shrubs on dis- turbed sites to aid in surface erosion control, as well as enhancing slope stability through the development of a root network. 152 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation OBJECTIVES 1. Control of surface erosion from forest road slopes; 2. Control of surface erosion from mass wasted areas; 3. Enhancement of slope stability on mass wasted areas  (or potentially unstable slopes) to prevent further slope de gradation. Objective 1: Surface erosion control from forest road slopes can be accomplished through revegetation with grasses and legumes. Since most of the forest road slopes in the Charlottes are greater than 2:1 and receive rather high intensity rainfall, hydroseeding was deemed as the most practical method of slope revegetation. Initial roadside seeding by the Research Branch in the Charlottes was very successful, even on some very steep cut and fill/sidecast slopes. Since these early efforts, the Research Branch has assisted MacMillan Bloedel, Crown Zellerbach, and Western Forest Products in the conversion of forest fire tankers into hydroseeders through the addition of a recycling agitation system. All three multi-purpose units will be in full operation in 1981. Objective 2: Once again, grass-legume establishment was chosen as the best method to halt surface erosion on these denuded slopes. However conventional application equipment could not begin to cover the types of slopes encountered. Dry-seed application by helicopter was disregarded due to its questionable success on steep slopes with high rainfall and strong winds. A better solution would be the application of a hydroseed slurry, containing seed, fertilizer, and a soil binder. The soil binder would hold the seed and fertilizer in place on the steep slopes until germination. The first efforts at applying a hydroseed slurry to the slopes were with a Hughes 500 helicopter and a monsoon bucket. Although there was no agitation or gradual dispersion of the slurry to the slopes, these 153 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation efforts were somewhat successful in establishing grass-legume cover on a portion of the slopes. Over the winter 1980-81, Bill Marson (then Chief Engineer with Queen Charlotte Helicopters Ltd.) and Bill Carr (contractor with the B.C. Ministry of Forests) designed another method of spreading the slurry over the slope. Bill Marson built the new helicopter hydroseeder in the early spring of 1981 and this unit was operationally tested in May 1981. The new seeder was a helicopter pod that could keep the slurry agitated and also apply it evenly over the slope. A 3 hp engine drives a central shaft which has an impellor inside the bucket for agitation, and a spreading disc underneath. Opening and closing of the drain port can be done electrically by the pilot. Although there are still some torque problems to be worked out, the unit was fairly easy to manoeuver and highly effective in covering the slope with the hydroseed slurry. The results so far have been very promising, with good vegetative establish- ment on some extremely steep sidewalls in the seeded gullies. The unit also proved to be very cost efficient. Tables 2, 3, and 4 provide a breakdown of the materials used and the costs incurred in the seeding of Crown Zellerbach Spur 29. Future operations of this bucket are somewhat tenuous due to a change in the personnel and management of Queen Charlotte Helicopters Ltd., but we have devised a methodology for the seeding of previously inaccessible areas. The unit has proven to be fast and effective in the hydroseeding of steep slopes, as well as very cost efficient. Objective 3: Mass wasted slopes not only pose a serious surface erosion problem, but also remain unstable and are often subject to further soil movements until there is nothing left but bedrock. In this situation, the use of shrubs becomes an integral part of a revegetation program. The shrubs not only add diversity to the erosion control vegetation, but more importantly, they add a deep, strong root network. This root network has been shown to significantly increase the shear strength of soil (Endo and Tsuruta 1969, O'Loughlin 1972) as well as anchoring the soil mantle to more stable bedrock. 154 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE 2 HELICOPTER HYDROSEEDlNG:  C-Z SPUR 29  General Information Total Area Seeded 3 hectares (approximately) Total Slurry Applied 1,000 gallons Total Materials Applied: Fertilizer (20-24-15) 450 kg Seed Mix 100 kg Soil Binder (Ecology M-I) 55 kg TABLE 3 HELICOPTER HYDROSEEDING:  C-Z SPUR 29 Flight Information Total Flight Time 1 hour Average Pay load 85 gal Ions Number of Turns 12 Average Time Per Turn: Filling of Bucket 1.0 minute Flight Time to Site 1.5 minutes Spreading of Slurry 1.0 minute Return Flight 1.5 minutes Total 5.0 minutes   155 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE 4 HELICOPTER HYDROSEEDING:  C-Z SPUR 29 Cost Breakdown Per Hour Per Hectare Helicopter Rental -Hughes 500 (including bucket) Truck Hydroseeder (including labour) Materials Applied: Seed Mix Fertilizer Soil Binder Total $    450 $150 300 100 275  145 290 $1,460 156 92 48 97 $487 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation For the Queen charlotte Islands, only native shrubs such as Vaccinium ovatum, Rubus parviflorus, and Salix sp. were considered for use be- cause: 1. These native species are adapted to the local climate and soils; 2. There was great concern over the possible escape of an intro duced species and the creation of a weed problem. Table 5 provides a complete listing of the shrub species collected on the Charlottes for propagation. Hardwood cuttings, softwood cuttings, and seed were collected locally and transported to UBC for propagation. Shrub propagation methods and strategy are outlined in Appendix A. As an example of our propagation methods, the following procedure for hardwood (dormant) cuttings is used. The cuttings are taken during the dormant season and shipped back to UBC. Upon arrival, they are trimmed to size (leaving 3 or 4 buds), dipped in root hormone, bundled in groups of 15, and placed in a cold-frame over winter. In the spring, rooted cuttings are lined out in the nursery field for "growing on." The rooting results for the Queen Charlotte shrubs are given in Table 6. Both hardwood and softwood cuttings were for the most part very successful. If possible, hardwood cutting is the preferred method due to its simplicity and ease of handling. Softwood cuttings require much more attention and handling, including greenhouse facilities with a mist system. Our seed program is just getting under way and we have no tabulated data at this time. However, when dormancy and other technical problems are ironed out, seed propagation is likely to be the most operationally and cost efficient method for most species. Last November, shrubs from 6 species were lifted from the nursery bed, transported back to the Charlottes, and planted at 4 test sites. For the most part we selected large rooted stock grown in beds, but did include some rooted willow sticks (Salix sp.) that were still in the cold-frame. Table 7 includes a list of the chosen species and the numbers planted. Three of the test sites were V-notch gullies that had been hydroseeded in May 1980. The other site was a recent road failure that resulted 157 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE 5 SHRUBS COLLECTED FOR THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS 158  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE 6 ROOTING SUCCESS OF COLLECTED SHRUBS Species _____ Cuttings _____ Hardwood       Softwood   159 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation from the overloading of the fill slope. Planting on the steeper slopes was much easier when there was a well established grass-legume cover. These areas were also subject to far less surface erosion, which on some non-grassed slopes exposed some of the shrubs' root systems. In one instance, at least 5 cm of soil eroded from a portion of an uncolonized part of a slope which totally uncovered some of the planned shrubs. As of June 1981, the majority of the planted shrubs were growing well (Table 8). Although the numbers of some species are small, these pre- liminary results are very promising. Most shrubs were subjected to some degree of deer browse, but so far it has been a problem only with willow (Salix sp.). The large rooted stock appears to be able to tolerate low levels of browse activity. 160 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE 8 QUEEN CHARLOTTE FIELD TRIALS:  SPECIES  ESTABLISHMENT AS OF JUNE  3, 1981 Species P!anted Survival  Percent  Symphoricarpos albus 99 Rubus parv i f lorus  60 Rubus spectabiI is 100 Cornus  stolon ifera 100 Spirea douglasii  100 Salix  sp. - Big   stock 100 - Rooted   stick 55 161 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation APPENDIX A SHRUB PROPAGATION METHODOLOGY AND STRATEGY B.C. MINISTRY OF FORESTS #EP 863 - CHRIS MARCHANT Objective; To control mass movement, soil creep, minor sheer failure, ravelling and to rehabilitate slopes through the use of live root systems of smaller woody plants. Method depends on mechanical strength and on water absorptive capacity of the roots. Probably also depends on the development of ramifying subsurface water movement channels along these root systems. Species Selection and Choice of Method for Each There are about 50 potentially suitable native or naturalized species in B.C. (Table 9). Total studied to date in EP 863 is 30 species (Table 10). To each of these can be applied a set of considerations and para- meters before outplanting on a site as follows: 1. Choice of Propagule Type (bare root or containerized) Depends on: Site conditions (accessibility, etc.) Soil conditions (degree of moisture) Ravelling or slumping on slope. Aspect (wind, sun, frost, etc.) Steepness Elevation Regional occurrence Availability at time of collection (e.g. seed source, loca- tion, collection and cleaning has to be timed for each species and elevation) 2. Size of propagule Similar consideration as in 1. above: Economics of production, transportation Speed of outplanting growth vs. percent survival Relative ability to establish in a given site 162 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation 3. Time of Outplanting in Field Plots Dependent on: Season (snow melt date) Elevation Occurrence of highest and most destructive rainfall Periods and frosts (heaving) Availability of material Allowance of enough time for good root establishment before winter or before summer heat 4. Block Patterns and Spacing Arrangement Trial and Error; Some logical application to slope mechanics or run-off characteristics. Spacing approximately 1 m but dependent on the species. 5. Monoculture Vs. Mixtures of Species Attempt to predict the successional characteristics of the site. Assess the soil levels of a given site in which root development is required. 6. Engineering Influences Road construction timing and cooperative effort (e.g. Rover Creek). Road maintenance timing (clearing ditches, sidecasting etc.). Log hauling (interfering with access to site or work on a roadside site). 7. Animal Browse Determining the susceptibility of species to browse damage where game plentiful or overstocked (QCI). Summary Selection of best shrub species depends not only on field site per- formance but on ease of propagation and subsequent growth response + specific rehabilitation value. e.g. Symphoricarpos vs. Ceanothus 163 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Propagation Methods Softwood  cuttings Hardwood  cuttings Seed Offsets and layering e. g. Lonicera involucrata Cornus ceriseus Philadelphus lewisii Corylus cornuta Great variation in response and ease of application between species. 1.   Methods - Hardwoods Gathering strong dormant current year shoots, cutting, dipping, bundling, storing (sawdust, fridge) line-out next spring. a.   Advantages Rapid growth once rooted (compared to some seed) Avoids problems of seedling propagation (timing of stratification, etc. ) b. Drawbacks Slow and unreliable with many species Needs careful storage Bulky collection and storage Difficult to control water content during storage Often difficult to find healthy and suitable material 2. Methods - Softwoods  164 Gathering from plump current year shoots without disease damage. Transfer to propagation facility. Cutting, dipping and inserting in medium under mist irrigation. To be done in summer when shrubs sufficiently grown and matured. a.   Advantages Fast rooting (e.g. Lonicera involucrata) Easy to monitor progress Usually easy to find suitable field material (e.g. Shepherdia canadensis) Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation b.   Disadvantages Often short growth season (July to September) Resulting young plants tend to have poor root development by the onset of winter - poor survival Plants not large enough to outplant by the first fall (e.g. Salix from higher elevations) Often  deteriorates  during  transport  from  field  material collection site to facility in summer 3. Methods - Offsets and Layering Only usable for a few suitable species (e.g. Corylus). a.   Disadvantages Need to build stock plants at a nursery facility (layering) Fairly slow process requiring field space 4. Root Cuttings Labourious field collection Slow results Suitable for very few species (e.g. Shepherdia). 5. Seed Propagation a. Advantages Generally most efficient process Large stocks can be held in storage Germination can be timed Even-aged progeny develop with good form b. Disadvantages Location of abundant wild sources of wide range of provenances not easy Stratification needed to break dormancy often complex and precise.  Sometimes unknown (e.g. Symphoricarpos). Seedlings of some susceptible to damping off or "shock" 165 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Sometimes seed almost impossible to collect (e.g. Salix, Ceano- thus) Sometimes large quantities of fruit yield few seeds (Shep- herdia ) In conclusion, before there can be adequate field planting trials there must be successful propagation methods established. This is the key to a native shrub program and one upon which every applied effort is worth- while. Results at the end of this second year are very promising. Upwards of 7,000 propagules of 30 species are under development this fall. Planting trials will be expanded in QCI, the Eraser Canyon and West Kootenays. The end product of the study will be publication of an established set of guidelines for shrub propagation methodology and for field utiliza- tion of native shrubs in soil rehabilitation. 166 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE 9 SPECIES RECOMMENDED FOR EROSION CONTROL AND THEIR SUCCESSFUL METHODS OF PROPAGATION  Method Tried: / = yes SuccessfuI: + = yes; - = no; p = poor; +? = unsure; ? = unknown awaiting results. 167  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE   10 SHRUB AND TREE SPECIES TESTED,   METHODS  AND SITE PREFERENCES  - SUMMARY   -TENTATIVE 168  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE  10     (Continued)  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  Note: 1. 29 tried  to date;   these marked  - 2. * = naturalized 170 TABLE  10     (Continued) Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation LITERATURE CITED Calder, J.A. and R.L. Taylor. 1968. Flora of the Queen Charlotte Islands-Part I. Can. Dept. Agriculture. Monograph No. 4-Part I. Ottawa, Canada. 659p. Endo, T. and T. Tsuruta. 1969. On the effect of tree's roots upon the shearing strength of soil. Annual Report: For. Exp. Sta., Hokkai- do, Japan, 1968. pp. 167-182. Fredericksen, R. L. 1965. Sediment after logging road construction in a small western Oregon watershed. Federal Interagency Sediment Conference, 1963. U.S.D.A. Misc. Publication 970, Paper #8. Washington, D.C. 4p. O'Loughlin, C.L. 1972. An investigation of the stability of steepland forest soils in the Coast Mountains, southwest B.C. Ph.D. Thesis, Faculty of Foresty, Univ. of B.C., Vancouver, 147p. Rice, R.M., J.S. Rothacher and W.F. Megahan. 1972. Erosional consequences timber harvesting - an appraisal. In; Proc. Symp. on Watersheds in Transition. (Fort Collins, Colorado, June 19-21, 1972.) Water Resources Association Series 14. pp. 321-329. Toews, D.A.A. and D. Wilford. 1978. Watershed management consider- ations for operational planning on T.F.L. #39 (BIk. 6A), Graham Island. Manuscript Report 1473, Fisheries and Marine Service, Fisheries and Environment Canada. Ottawa, Canada. 32p. 171

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