Best Management Practices for Wetland Road Construction
SFI Program Participants have specific responsibilities related to the protection of waterways and wetland resources. These responsibilities take on even greater significant in the vast wetlands that characterize many northern forests. To help minimize impacts from these activities, Dalhousie University received $70,000 over three years, beginning in 2011, to develop best management practices for forest road crossings in Canada.
The project entailed rigorous experiments to test the most promising techniques to determine which are most effective at maintaining hydrologic function when building roads in forested swamps. In summer 2011, students took detailed measurements of wetland conditions, water flows and biodiversity in chosen forested wetlands to establish a baseline. Industry partners then installed various best management practices in late summer/early autumn of 2011. Students then measured site conditions in summer 2012. Their analysis showed which practices had the lowest impact on wetland structure and function. While these findings were shared with industry partners, this grant also served as an excellent educational opportunity for Dalhousie students.
The project intersects with Sustainable Forestry Initiative goals through the protection and maintenance of water resources and wetlands, including bogs, fens, marshes and vernal pools of ecological significance. It also serves to protect forests with exceptional conservation value.