Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis





First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Stringer


Streamside management zones (SMZs) have become important management techniques to prevent the introduction of sediment to stream networks. This study examined the current Kentucky best management practice (BMP) guidelines for SMZs by outfitting mobile forest harvest equipment with global positioning system (GPS) receivers, enabling modeling of equipment traffic and spatial analysis of stream sediment delivery. Three SMZ configurations were implemented during commercial timber harvest, along with four different techniques of crossing ephemeral channels, in order to determine where and why sediment was introduced to the stream network. Results indicate that increasing the SMZ buffer width leads to decreased sediment delivery, and that requiring an SMZ buffer with some canopy retention on ephemeral channels will lead to improvements in stream water quality. Care should be taken in the placement and construction of water control measures for skid trail retirement, and improved stream channel crossings such as bridges and pipe culverts should be required to improve water quality over unimproved fords. A northeasterly aspect of harvested areas was shown to be related to increased sediment delivery to streams, while surface roughness downslope from the skid trail system was shown to decrease sediment delivery.