Tuesday, October 1, 2002

October BMP Q&A

By: Hughes Simpson, BMP Forester, Texas Forest Service

Q:   Last month, you mentioned a report that the Texas Forest Service publishes regarding the results of randomly inspected forestry activities for BMP implementation. I was very pleased to see that the forestry community in East Texas had reached an all time high for the past round of monitoring. How does Texas compare to other states in BMP implementation monitoring rates?

A:   I knew someone would ask this question before too long! Does the old saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas” apply to forestry BMP implementation monitoring rates? This is somewhat difficult to answer due to the variations in the actual forestry BMPs and monitoring programs among the states, but I will give it a shot.

The manner in which forestry BMPs are administered generally fall into one of two categories: regulatory or non-regulatory. Although there is no significant difference in BMP implementation rates between the two approaches, it is easier to compare apples to apples. Texas is currently operating under the non-regulatory approach, so let’s look at other states that use this same method.

Non-regulatory BMP programs are widely found throughout the South, from South Carolina to Texas. However, the actual BMP recommendations can vary significantly among the Southern states. For example, the guidelines for SMZ width and residual density along intermittent streams may be completely different from state to state. It is important to recognize these differences when comparing BMP implementation rates.

Variations can also be found in the monitoring program (monitoring frequency, site selection, scoring methodology, risk assessment, etc.). To counteract this, a Regional BMP Implementation Monitoring Protocol has been developed and approved by the Southern Group of State Foresters. This protocol improved the integrity of BMP monitoring in the South by providing a statistically sound, objective, and technically defensible approach to measuring BMP implementation. The results are generally comparable among states.

As I mentioned in the last month’s article, the overall BMP implementation rate found for the fifth round of monitoring (2002) in Texas was 91.5%. BMP implementation rates for the state of Louisiana (2000) were also found to be in this range. Arkansas recently released the results of their latest survey (2001) and found overall BMP implementation to be 83%. Oklahoma should be completing their next survey in the near future and Mississippi is currently in the process of customizing a monitoring program that will follow the above mentioned protocol.

Texas is definitely at the top of the list in BMP implementation rates. In order for the saying, “everything is bigger in Texas” to remain true, the forestry community must continue its hard work and effort in protecting water quality through the implementation of BMPs. If you have a question regarding BMPs, please call me at (936) 639-8180.

* This article was published in the October 2002 issue of the Texas Logger

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