forest practices watershed analysis
The forest practices watershed analysis process was developed by forest landowners, tribes, environmental groups and state natural resource agencies. The Forest Practices Board adopted watershed analysis rules in 1992. These watershed analysis rules and their corresponding technical manual are chapter 222-22 WAC and Board Manual Section 11.
Watershed analysis is a biological and physical assessment of a watershed designed to address the cumulative effects of forest practices on specific public resources (fish, water, and capital improvements of the state) and on cultural resources. Based on assessment results, “prescriptions” are developed to protect public resources and “voluntary management strategies” are developed to protect and manage cultural resources. Forest practices applications not incorporating the applicable public resources prescriptions must have State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review prior to department approval.
Watershed analysis is performed on Watershed Administrative Units (WAUs) - areas defined by hydrology and geomorphology - ranging in size from about 10,000 to 50,000 acres. Of 825 Watershed Administrative Units in Washington, 754 are forested. Each analysis is conducted by a team of experts from relevant scientific disciplines, such as hydrology, fish biology, and cultural anthropology. Each team member must meet minimum qualifications, including a specific educational background, field experience in an appropriate scientific discipline, and training in the forest practices watershed analysis process.