USGS Washington Water Science Center
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WA396 - Watershed Analysis of the Cook and McCalla Basins, Washington - Completed FY1995
Problem - As part of the President's Forest Plan, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is conducting watershed analyses in nation's forests. These analyses will be used to assess the current state of the watersheds with regard to aquatic, terrestrial, and human elements. The analyses will consider how these elements interact in positive and detrimental ways to impact the overall health of the watershed ecosystem. The USFS has prioritized basins to look at most critical areas and issues first. The analyses will also identify critical data needed for adequate assessment of conditions, will identify data gaps, and will start to formulate baseline data and trends.
The USFS is implementing an interagency approach to the analyses as part of the President's plan. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is particularly suited to collaborating on the aquatic issues. Our expertise in hydrology, sediment transport, geomorphology, water quality, ground-water/surface-water interactions, and biological/hydrological interactions can greatly speed the watershed analyses with sound, readily accessible scientific information. The USFS would like us to participate in one of the first watershed analyses, that of the Cook and McCalla Basins near Lake Quinault on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington. Our cooperation on this project will benefit both agencies, and the people of Washington and the nation, by assessing the present state of the watershed and guiding future basin management and appropriate restoration.
Objectives - The USGS will collaborate with the USFS in the watershed analysis of the Cook and McCalla Basins, Washington. The USGS will be part of all aspects of the analysis, and, in particular, will provide special, indepth assistance with the aquatic element. The analysis will assess the current states of the basins; will identify data critical to understanding the processes; will identify gaps in data and understanding of processes; will analyze the interactions among the aquatic, terrestrial, and human elements; and will provide a basis for future analysis and restoration in the basins.
Approach - The USGS will provide one person to collaborate with the Watershed Analysis Team. The team must have its analysis completed by September 30, 1995; thus, the analysis will rely heavily on existing information about the state of the watershed and must be completed rapidly. We expect the overall team may meet as often as weekly, usually at Lake Quinault, to discuss progress. This overall team consists of about 11 people from the USFS, the USGS, the Quinault Indian Nation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Rayonier Corporation (a timber company). In addition, the USGS participant will be part of a team of three people addressing issues specific to the aquatic element; this team will have USFS, USGS, and Rayonier representatives, and will be lead by the USFS representative.