By: Hughes Simpson, BMP Forester, Texas Forest Service
Q: I understand the importance of using Best Management Practices, but would like to see some actual field examples. We did this in the BMP training workshop and it was very helpful. Is there anywhere in East Texas that shows on the ground applications of BMPs that the public can view?
A: You bet there is! The Texas Forest Service manages five state forests throughout East Texas, totaling 7,314 acres. Their primary function is to provide public education and sound forest management demonstrations. Two of these state forests, the W. Goodrich Jones and the John Henry Kirby, display the use of Best Management Practices for the protection of water quality from non-point source water pollution during forestry operations.
The W. Goodrich Jones State Forest is located in Conroe, approximately 1.5 miles west of Interstate 45 on FM 1488. This 1,733 acre forest contains examples of road BMPs and streamside management zones. Stream crossings are also shown in great detail, and include bridges, culverts, and low water crossings.
The John Henry Kirby State Forest is located on Highway 69, south of Warren in Tyler County. This 600 acre forest also has demonstrations of road construction and drainage, stream crossings, and even includes a wetlands designation.
These forests are open year round to the general public during daylight hours and provide an excellent educational opportunity to learn about protecting water quality. A wooden sign is used to mark each BMP example, describe the actual demonstration, and explain its function.
For those of you who do not have time to visit these areas, a virtual forest tour has been developed on the Internet. This tour includes topics that discuss road maintenance and stabilization, stream crossings, streamside management zones, culvert installations, and other useful BMPs. It can be accessed by visiting the Texas Forest Service’s webpage at http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/water. All BMPs pictured have a description of how they work to protect water quality. You will find detailed instructions on how to properly install culverts. There are also before and after pictures of roadwork.
For more information on these state forests or to arrange an on the ground field tour for your group, contact the BMP office at (936) 639-8180. If you have a question regarding BMPs, please contact me.
* This article was published in the March 2001 issue of the Texas Logger