Changes in storm hydrographs after road building, clear‐cutting, and burning were determined for six small watersheds in the Oregon Coast Range. Peak flows were increased significantly after road building, but only when roads occupied at least 12% of the watershed. Roads had no detectable effect on volumes of storm hydrographs. By reducing transpiration and interception, partial clear‐cutting increased peak flow, quick flow, delayed flow, and total storm hydrograph volume of some streams. Most increases were largest in the fall when maximum differences in soil water content existed between cut and uncut watersheds. Maximum increases in storm flow occurred after a 175‐acre watershed was 82% clear‐cut. Here peak flow increased 16 ft3/s/mi2, quick flow 1.5 in., and total storm hydrograph volume 2.6 in. during the fall. The average increase in winter peak flows was smaller. The effect of roads on peak flows has significance for design of culverts and bridges in headwater areas, but probably does not influence downstream flooding. Increases in streamflow after clear‐cutting should have no appreciable effect on either damage to bridges and culverts in headwater areas or downstream flooding. Caution must be used in extending results of this study to storm runoff events of low frequency and large magnitude.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1975
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