Friday, August 1, 2008

August BMP Q&A

By Shane Harrington, BMP Forester (Ret.), Texas Forest Service

Q:  Last year I heard that the Texas Forest Service was conducting a new workshop for loggers through the Texas Pro-Logger Program.  Several years ago I attended the BMP Logger Training Workshop in order to obtain my Pro-Logger certification.  Is the workshop I’m hearing about the same as the one that has been offered in years past or is it something new?

A:  Texas Forest Service in 2007 began offering a new BMP workshop focusing on stream crossings to logging professionals as part of the Pro-Logger program.  This course is approved for 6.0 hours of continuing education, meeting the annual requirements for logging contractors to maintain their certification.

To date Texas Forest Service has conducted six workshops in Lufkin, Jefferson, Silsbee, and Woodville.  “The response we have seen from logging professionals in East Texas has been tremendous and the attendance at each workshop proves that with each being full thus far” said Shane Harrington, BMP Forester, Texas Forest Service.  “We’ve even had other states contact us about using our workshop as a model for their own states” said Harrington.  Future dates for additional stream crossing workshops are being planned now for 2008.

This new workshop is designed like the traditional BMP course in which attendees spend the morning session participating in discussions, watching videos, and listening to slide presentations.  After lunch, the class travels to several field sites to apply the principles that were presented earlier that morning.   Topics covered in this workshop include:
  • How to plan a stream crossing
  • Advantages and disadvantages of various stream crossing methods 
  • Proper installation and remediation of stream crossings
The idea to develop this course came after the release of the 2005 Texas BMP Implementation Monitoring report, a document produced to determine the extent to which the forestry community is voluntarily following the recommended guidelines.  The report showed that stream crossings consistently ranked lower than any other category evaluated, which is a concern, given the sensitivity of these areas.    

“Implementing BMPs on stream crossings is absolutely critical because these locations are direct contact points to the stream.  Improperly constructing a stream crossing can have a negative impact on water quality,” said Hughes Simpson, Texas BMP Coordinator.

Participants have seen the benefits in attending this course.  Post workshop evaluations show that 97% of attendees would recommend this class to others.  Also the evaluations showed that most attendees would like to see future workshops on streamside management zones and forest roads.  Typical written comments from participants were:
"I think this was a good workshop and everyone that works on dirt needs to attend."

"Good.  The men did a great job of showing different ideas about future logging procedures."

"Thanks for your effort.  The class is needed to try to get everyone on the same page!"

"Good.  Great opportunity to expand knowledge."
A stream crossing workshop is currently being planned for later this fall in the Livingston area and to register for this workshop or any other course required for the Pro-Logger certification, contact the Texas Forestry Association at (936) 632-8733.  For more information on Best Management Practices, please contact the Texas Forest Service at (936) 639-8180 or go online at

* This article was published in the August 2008 issue of the Texas Logger

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