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Monday, January 25 • 11:40am - 12:00pm
Using An Updated Road Network To Map Watershed Infrastructure Vulnerability For The Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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AUTHORS: Mark Fedora, Ottawa National Forest; Christopher Kovala, Ottawa National Forest; Colin Brooks, Michigan Tech Research Institute; David Banach*, Michigan Tech Research Institute

ABSTRACT: While providing transportation for people and goods, there are a number of negative ecological impacts that stem from a road network including the increase of relative vulnerability of infrastructure in watersheds. Sixth-level sub-watersheds for three watersheds in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula were assigned a relative vulnerability rating ranging from very low to very high, based on road density and weighted hydrological soil groups. Watersheds with deep sandy soils and low road densities received a very low risk rating, while watersheds with clay soils or shallow to bedrock soils and high road densities received a very high risk rating. This rating system originally reported that National Forest lands generally consisted of higher vulnerability risks due to higher road densities. However, upon closer examination of multi-temporal aerial imagery, numerous miles of unmapped forested roads on other land ownerships were discovered. Therefore, an updated and improved road network dataset was necessary to draw inferences that quantify the total vulnerability impact upon a watershed. The updated road network for these three watersheds consisted of 8,200 miles of previously unmapped roads, with an additional 4,150 road-stream crossings. The watershed infrastructure vulnerability mapping effort was reassessed to determine how vulnerability patterns across the landscape have changed due to the updated road network. This infrastructure vulnerability remapping is serving as an effective tool to help managers in prioritizing infrastructure inventories and “right size” road/stream crossings in watersheds with high vulnerability ratings.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST