Q: I have heard you mention that the Texas Forest Service (TFS) produces a report on how well loggers are doing with BMPs. What is covered in that report? I would also like to know if I could get a copy?
A: Your question is very well timed. The latest report just made it off the presses in September. This program evaluated the level of compliance with the voluntary forestry BMPs. A total of 150 sites on which silvicultural activities occurred were evaluated. These sites are a representative sample of the forestry activities that occurred in East Texas between June 3, 1998 and August 31, 2000.
Overall compliance on the sites monitored was 88.6%. In general compliance was highest on sites owned by the USDA Forest Service or forest industry. The Forest Service had an overall compliance of 97.9%, while industry sites had a 94.2% compliance rating. Nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) lands scored 81.2% overall.
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 ratings using the old method, this fourth round shows an increase in compliance overall and by NIPF landowners and industry.
Major improvements from the previous rounds included: The presence of SMZs where needed and increased NIPF compliance. However there were some major deficiencies noted including sedimentation from stream crossings and erosion problems from skid trails and temporary roads.
An overall compliance of 88.6% is good. However, you can see we still have plenty of room for improvement. The increased BMP compliance by landowners and loggers helped us earlier in the year in our efforts to have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exclude forestry provisions from the total maximum daily load (TMDL) regulations. Continue to do a good job out there in the log woods. Always strive to improve in every aspect of your job and take pride in your work. If we do that then the rest will take care of itself. I would like to throw out a challenge to you. Let’s set our goal for the next monitoring round at 92% overall compliance. If everyone works hard and does the best job they can every time, I know we can do it!
You can get a copy of the results from Round 4 of BMP Compliance Monitoring at the TFS webpage: http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/water or there are a few copies available at the TFS office in Lufkin. If you have a BMP question you would like answered, please contact me.
* This article was published in the November 2000 issue of the Texas Logger