Sunday, February 1, 2009

February BMP Q&A

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

Q:  Several months ago you wrote that the Texas Forest Service was conducting another BMP implementation survey.  I wanted to know if the survey has been completed and if so what were some of the results? 

A:  Yes, the Texas Forest Service recently completed its seventh round of BMP implementation monitoring. Since 1990 the Texas Forest Service has conducted this monitoring with the purpose of determining and showing how well landowners, foresters, and loggers are implementing these voluntary practices.  This month I will give an overview of the latest monitoring results and over the next few months I will go into more detail regarding the results.

Texas Forest Service monitored 152 sites representing 13,742 acres from June 20, 2007 to November 18, 2008.  Sites were chosen randomly throughout East Texas based on the annual harvest of each county and ownership group.  Also all sites chosen had some type of silvicultural activity conducted on them during this time period.  Four ownership groups were targeted, including public, industry, corporate (commercial landowners that do not have wood processing facilities) and private landowners.  Each landowner was contacted and only with landowner permission was the site monitored.

Public ownership had the highest rating (100%) in protecting water quality, followed by corporate (95.7%), industry (91.1%) and private landowners (88.7%).  Overall BMP implementation was 91.5%.  Ratings were significantly higher when:
  • A professional forester was involved in the activity or sale
  • The logger had attended the BMP training workshop
  • he landowner was familiar with BMPs
  • BMPs were included in the timber sale contract
  • The landowner was a member of the American Tree Farm System
  • The timber was delivered to a major SFI® mill

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.  The basis for continued success in this project is education.  Significant improvement in BMP implementation has been noted since their development in 1989, largely due to the numerous BMP training workshops, seminars, and demonstration tours that have been conducted throughout the state.  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. 

Over the next few of months I will discuss areas in which improvements were noted as well as areas in which improvement is needed compared to previous monitoring rounds.  Also I will discuss each landowner category and break down their strengths and weaknesses.  To view a copy of the report titled “Voluntary Implementation of Forestry Best Management Practices in East Texas, Round 7” visit the Texas Forest Service webpage at  For more information regarding this report or BMPs please contact me at (936) 639-8180.

* This article was published in the February 2009 issue of the Texas Logger