Estimating costs and effectiveness of upgrades in forestry best management practices for stream crossings
© 2015 by the authors. Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) are used for protection of water quality at forest stream crossings, yet effects and costs for gradients of BMPs are not well documented. We evaluated forty-two truck road and skid trail stream crossings using three surrogates of BMP adequacy: (1) potential erosion rates for stream crossing approaches; (2) adequacy of stream crossing BMPs; and (3) overall BMP rating (BMP, BMP-standard, and BMP+). Subsequently, BMP upgrades were recommended for enhancing BMP or BMP-standard stream crossings. Costs for BMP upgrades were estimated using an existing road and skid trail cost method. The majority of truck road stream crossings were culverts, while skid trail stream crossings were primarily portable bridges. Potential erosion estimates, BMP audit scores, and BMP ratings all indicated that skid crossings have lower BMP implementation than truck road crossings. BMP improvements commonly identified for skid trail and truck crossings included addition of cover and water control structures. Improved BMPs at skid trail crossings were less expensive than those at truck road crossings. Current BMP guidelines provide economical and effective techniques for reducing erosion, and BMP upgrades have the potential to reduce erosion rates to similar levels found in undisturbed forests.