Q: A few months ago you wrote about a report that the Texas Forest Service produces about BMP compliance. How often do you produce that report? Also, is it possible for regular people like me to see the report? I would like to see how we as an industry are doing with the BMPs.
A: The report that you mention is titled, Voluntary Compliance with Forestry Best Management Practices in East Texas. This report has been produced every two years since 1992. Each two year period is called a "round," and we have just finished the 4th round of monitoring. The data for this latest round has recently been complied and the report was published in September. You can download a copy of the results at the Texas Forest Service WebPage: http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/water. You can also request a copy from your local TFS office. For those of you who do not have time to read the report, here is a brief summary of the results from the last round of BMP monitoring.
The latest report documents the results of 150 sites throughout east Texas that were monitored between June 1998 and August 1999. Sites included lands owned by the public (national and state forest), forest industry, and non-industrial private forest (NIPF) landowners. Results indicated an increase in overall compliance with using BMPs from 87.3% in 1998 to 88.6% in the latest report.
In general, compliance was highest on sites owned by the USDA Forest Service or forest industry. Forest Service sites had an overall compliance of 97.9%, while industry sites had a 94.2% compliance rating. NIPF lands scored 81.2% overall.
The report indicates that compliance is greatest when landowners are familiar with Best Management Practices, when loggers have attended BMP training classes, when BMPs are included in the contract, and when a professional forester was involved with the operation.
In previous rounds (1,2, and 3) of monitoring, tracts were graded for compliance using a "Pass or Fail" method. For round 4, a new system was developed that uses percentages to denote compliance. The tracts in round 4 were also rated using the old method. When looking at the ratings using the old method, this fourth round shows an increase in compliance overall and by NIPF landowner and industry. USDA Forest Service lands again rated 100% in compliance when using the old method.
Next month we will talk about the areas of improvement and areas that need work that were indicated by the report. If you have a BMP question you would like answered, please contact me.
* This article was published in the December 2000 issue of the Texas Logger