Water yield improvement in the Sierra Nevada snow zone: 1912-1982

TitleWater yield improvement in the Sierra Nevada snow zone: 1912-1982
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1982
AuthorsKattelmann, R. C.
Conference Name50th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 50th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1982
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationReno, Nevada
KeywordsSnowpack management, Water yield improvement

Forest management as a means of improving the yield and timing of runoff originating in the Sierra Nevada snow zone has been investigated for more than 70 years. This paper reviews published and unpublished research from the work of Dr. Church to the present. The principles developed in dozens of studies have been tested with large-scale timber harvests at two sites in northern California. Narrow cut strips oriented either east-west or north-south have been found to retain significantly more snow water equivalent than nearby uncut forest. Streamflow records near the Yuba Pass study indicate a substantial increase in runoff due to harvesting.Operational limitations on the application of watershed management practices are examined. Research needs are highlighted, and general guidelines for increasing and delaying streamflow are provided.