State of Our Watersheds: Forested Land Cover Declining

When land is converted out of forest use, important salmon habitat is lost. From 1999 to 2007, 70 acres of forested land cover was removed near Bagley Creek in the Dungeness-Morse watersheds to make way for 28 new homes.
Seventy acres of forested land cover were removed by two permitted Forest Practices Application activities between 1999 and 2007 at this site near Bagley Creek. Fourteen new homes were built on the converted land between 2007 and 2014, with room for 14 additional homes.

From 2006-2011, within the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s area of concern (land north of Olympic National Park and Buckhorn Wilderness), the number of sub-watersheds having moderate, poor or severely damaged forest cover increased from 50 to 53, according to findings from the recently released State of Our Watersheds Report.

Some forest cover is regained through vegetation planting, but cover is being lost faster than planted as more forests are converted and developed.

Forest cover is important to healthy stream ecosystems, which supports salmon habitat. The quality of both the stream ecosystems and habitat decreases with loss of forest cover.

Percent Forest Cover by Sub-Watershed

From the report:

Forested land cover is a vital component of healthy stream ecosystems at both the watershed and riparian corridor scales. The Hood Canal and Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca Summer Chum Salmon Recovery Plan states that the ‘removal and modification of native riparian forests increases water temperatures, reduces stability of floodplain landforms and reduces large woody debris recruitment to stream channels.’