By: Shane Harrington, BMP Forester (Ret.), Texas Forest Service
Q: The Texas Forest Service over the last several years has released several reports documenting how well BMP’s are being used on forestry operations here in East Texas. I would like to know if the Texas Forest Service will be conducting any more of these surveys in the future and are the past reports available anywhere.
A: Since 1991 the Texas Forest Service has conducted six rounds of BMP implementation monitoring. During each round a minimum of 150 randomly chosen tracts are inspected for the implementation of BMP’s with the cooperation of the landowner. Once all the tracts have been inspected the data that was collected is used to produce a report which shows how well BMP’s are being used.
In September 2005 the sixth report was released showing an all time high in the overall implementation of BMP’s. The overall implementation rate for the sites selected in round six was 91.7%. Family forest owners saw their highest ever implementation rate at 88.9%, forest industry had an implementation rate of 95.7%, and public lands (national and state forestlands) had an implementation rate of 98.3%.
During round six improvements were seen in several areas such as a decrease in the number of significant risks to water quality, higher BMP implementation on permanent and temporary roads, and the increase in BMP implantation on family forest lands. Although improvements were seen there were also major deficiencies seen. These deficiencies were failure to restore and stabilize stream crossings on temporary roads and the failure to remove logging debris from streams.
Starting in January 2007 the Texas Forest Service will begin its seventh round of BMP implementation monitoring. Over the next year and a half the Texas Forest Service will randomly select a minimum of 150 tracts and with the cooperation of the landowner evaluate them for the implementation of BMP’s. In 2008 the seventh report will be released showing the overall findings of the inspections. Hopefully we will continue to see an increase in the implementation rates and see a decrease in the number of deficiencies.
All previous reports can be found on the Texas Forest Service website at http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/water. You can look at each report and see how far we have come over the years in the implementation of BMP’s but also see the areas in which we still need to improve. If you have any questions about the BMP implementation reports or BMP’s in general please feel free to call me at (936) 639-8180.
* This article was published in the December 2006 issue of the Texas Logger