Assessing Cumulative Impacts in Wetland Watersheds

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by Andrea E. Tuttle, Univ of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA,
Thomas G. Dickert, Univ of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87:

Abstract: In spite of significant efforts to protect California wetlands through regulation and acquisition, many remain threatened by impacts originating in their watersheds. Local governments are unable to consider the cumulative effects of proposed land uses in case-by-case permit review without a broader planning framework. The transferability of a method for assessing the cumulative effects of land-use plans on downstream wetlands, initially developed in the Elkhom Slough watershed on the central California coast, was tested in the Jacoby Creek watershed in northern California. The method focuses on problems of accelerated erosion and sedimentation caused by the mix of land uses typically found in developing watersheds. A central element of the method is development of a land disturbance target based on the historic record of upland and wetland change, rather than intrinsic ecosystem tolerances. Important considerations in applying the method to other sites include the need to tailor site disturbance measures to the specific processes of erosion within the watershed.

Subject Headings: Watersheds | Land use | Wetlands (coastal) | Wetlands (fresh water) | Coastal processes | Sea water | Erosion | Ecosystems | Rivers and streams | North America | California | United States

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