By: Shane Harrington, BMP Forester (Ret.), Texas Forest Service
Q: I would like to know if there is any place that I can visit in person to see “on the ground” applications of BMPs? I hear the term BMPs used a lot these days but I am interested in actually seeing how they are used.
A: That is a really good question. Many people hear the term BMPs and may have an idea of what they are but have never really seen them applied or applied correctly.
Crushed concrete was used to stabilize this road providing access during wet months.
The Texas Forest Service established BMP demonstration areas during the mid 1990’s on the W. Goodrich Jones State Forest located in Conroe and the Kirby State Forest located between Kountze and Woodville. The purpose of these BMP demonstration areas was to give loggers, landowners, and general public a chance to see properly implemented BMPs. Original demonstrations included a streamside management zone (SMZ), various types of stream crossings, and water control structures (i.e. wing ditches, open top box culverts, etc.).
During 2005 the Texas Forest Service decided to remodel and update the BMP demonstration area on the Jones State Forest in Conroe. Many of the original BMPs that were installed in the 90’s had deteriorated and were no longer visible. Many of the original BMP demonstrations were renovated and new BMP demonstrations were added. Renovation work consisted of remarking the SMZ, clearing brush away from culvert crossings making the culverts visible again, and replacing the existing signs with new ones which explain what BMP is being used and its purpose.
A highway entrance using large rocks and timber mats was added showing how mud can be removed from tires before entering the highway. Tracking mud onto the highway can cause the roadway to become slick making it hazardous for other motorists. Also a flat rail car was placed across a stream demonstrating how it can be used as a bridge. Sometimes a stream is too large for a culvert or other type of crossing and a bridge must be used and while there are several options a flat rail car can provide a sturdy and safe crossing alternative. Another new demonstration is road stabilization using crushed concrete which will allow a road to be used during wetter months. Also grass was planted along other roadways showing how seeding roads can prevent or minimize any erosion that may occur.
The guidelines and recommendations for using BMPs can be found in the Texas Forestry Best Management Practices Handbook. You can get a copy of the handbook by contacting your local Texas Forest Service office or view it online at http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/water. For more information regarding the BMP demonstration area or BMPs in general please call me at (936) 639-8180
* This article was published in the May 2006 issue of the Texas Logger