by Elizabeth (Betsy) Herbert

This peer-reviewed article was originally published in the Journal of American Water Works Association, February, 2007.

The abstract is below:

ABSTRACT

This study analyzed forest management policies and practices of 45 West Coast public water utilities owning forested land in their source watersheds. The study found a significant variation in commercial logging activity by water utilities between 1986-2001, ranging from no logging to maximum-sustained yield clear-cutting. A statistical analysis of questionnaire responses identified community factors associated with commercial logging. Six case studies compared water utilities that had logged heavily with those that had not. Results showed that public access to source watersheds, type of water utility governance, and condition of watershed lands at acquisition were the factors that most influenced forest management policy, practices, and environmental outcomes. Water utilities allowing public access had more protective forest management policies, logged less intensively, and had older forest stands. Water utilities that logged more intensively depended on timber revenues to subsidize both water user charges and system development charges.