By: Shane Harrington, BMP Forester (Ret.), Texas Forest Service
Q: I heard the Texas Forest Service recently completed another round of best management practices (BMP) implementation monitoring. How well are we doing at implementing BMPs on silvicultural operations and are there any areas that still need improvement?
A: This month I will address the BMP implementation rates for Round 6. Next month I will address areas where we had major improvements and areas needing improvements.
The Texas Forest Service BMP Project office recently finished its sixth round of BMP implementation monitoring. Every two years since 1991 the Texas Forest Service randomly selects and evaluates silvicultural operations in East Texas for the implementation of BMPs. This system of monitoring is a voluntary system between the Texas Forest Service and the landowner. Only tracts where permission has been granted by the landowner are evaluated.
Between May 2003 and July 2005 a total of 156 sites were chosen and evaluated for the implementation of BMPs. All tracts selected had some type of silvicultural operation conducted on them during this time period. Tracts were selected among family forest owners (listed as NIPF owners in previous rounds), corporate landowners (commercial landowners that do not have wood processing facilities), forest industry, and public lands (national and state forestlands).
The overall BMP implementation rate increased from 91.5% in Round 5 to 91.7% in Round 6. Family forest owners had the lowest implementation rate at 88.9%. Although this was the lowest implementation rate among the landowner categories, it was an all-time high for family forest owners. Corporate landowners had an overall implementation rate of 96.0% while forest industry had a rate of 95.7%. Implementation was generally highest on sites under public ownership. These national and state forestlands sites had an implementation rate of 98.3%.
Landowners and loggers continue to do a good job of implementing BMPs on their operations and, hopefully, in the future we can see a continued improvement of the BMP implementation rate. Remember that one way we can continue to improve is to recognize the importance of using BMPs to protect water quality by treating each silvicultural operation as if it will be evaluated.
You can obtain a copy of the Round 6 Voluntary Implementation of Forestry Best Management Practices in East Texas report by visiting our website at http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/water. If you have any questions regarding the Round 6 BMP implementation report or BMPs in general please call me at (936) 639-8180.
* This article was published in the October 2005 issue of the Texas Logger