2C – Road Construction and Reconstruction

Management Measure

  1. Follow preharvest planning (as described under Management Measure 2A) when constructing or reconstructing roadways.
  2. Follow designs planned under Management Measure 2A for road surfacing and shaping.
  3. Install road drainage structures according to designs planned under Management Measure 2A and regional storm return period and installation specifications. Match these drainage structures with terrain features and with road surface and prism designs.
  4. Guard against the production of sediment when installing stream crossings.
  5. Protect surface waters from slash and debris material from roadway clearing.
  6. Use straw bales, silt fences, mulching, or other favorable practices on disturbed soils on cuts, fill, etc.
  7. Avoid constructing new roads in SMAs to the extent practicable.

Management Practices

  • Logging roads and landings have the potential to be one of the greatest sources of sediment from managed forestlands. According to the California Forest Practice Rules, all logging roads and landings in the logging area need to be planned, located, constructed, reconstructed, used, and maintained in a manner that is consistent with long-term enhancement and maintenance of the forest resource and that prevents degradation of water quality.
  • Existing roads should be used whenever possible and new roads should be laid out in systematic patterns to reduce overall mileage. To reduce disturbance to natural site features, new roads should be tailored to the natural topography and should not be placed in unstable areas that are subject to erosion or deterioration, such as near canyon bottoms or through wetlands. Ideally they would be located on natural benches, flatter slopes, and areas of stable soils to minimize effects on watercourses.


  • California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Resource Management Program. Maintaining the sustainability of California’s natural resources is the goal of the CDF Resource Management Program. The Department achieves this goal by administering State and federal forestry assistance programs for landowners, demonstrating sound management practices on eight demonstration State forests, enforcing the California Forest Practice Act on all nonfederal timberlands, providing research and educational outreach to the public on forest pests such as Sudden Oak Death, and coordinating efforts for fuel reduction to reduce the risk of fire and improve the quality of California’s ecosystems.
  • USDA Forest Service adopted a new road management policy in January 2001, which directs the agency to maintain a safe, environmentally sound road network that is responsive to public needs and affordable to manage. The policy includes a science-based roads analysis process designed to help managers make better decisions on roads. The USDA Forest Service is looking at ways to make the road management policy work better and is conducting an internal review of the policy.

Information Resources

  • California Forest Stewardship Program - California Departlment of Forestry and Fire Protection
  • Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, Handbook for Forest and Ranch Roads. (June 1994). This document is a guide and field manual for anyone involved with roads in forests or on ranches. It contains many helpful photographs and illustrations, charts, and tips on approaching road building from planning through construction, maintenance, and closure. The publication can be requested by calling the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (Telephone: 707 468-9223).


CDF. 2003. California Forest Practice Rules. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Resource Management, Forest Practice Program, Sacramento, CA.

Rygh, J. 1990. Fisher Creek Watershed Improvement Project Final Report. Payette National Forest, ID.

USEPA. 2002. National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Forestry. Pre-Final Draft. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Washington, DC.

NPS Encyclopedia Site Map