Sunday, March 1, 2009

March BMP Q&A

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

Q: Last month I addressed the overall results of the most recent Texas Forest Service BMP Implementation Monitoring report that was released in December 2008.  This month I would like to address the areas in which deficiencies were seen.  Next month I will address the areas in which improvements were made.

A: In case you missed it the Texas Forest Service completed its seventh round of BMP Implementation Monitoring and released a report in December 2008 detailing the results of the monitoring.  The Texas Forest Service conducts these monitoring rounds approximately every two years in an effort to demonstrate how well BMPs are being implemented on silvicultural operations here in East Texas.  During the Round 7 monitoring two major deficiencies were noted: 1) failure to remove and stabilize stream crossings on temporary roads (temporary stream crossings) and 2) inadequate Streamside Management Zones (SMZ) widths along intermittent and perennial streams.

Temporary crossings should be removed and restored following use
To begin with, let’s take a look at the first deficiency – failure to remove and stabilize stream crossings on temporary roads.  Historically this deficiency has been commonplace, which is of great concern because stream crossings are an area which can negatively impact water quality if they are not implemented properly.  There was an overall implementation rate of 82% on stream crossings on temporary roads during Round 7; however, for removing and stabilizing these crossings there was an implementation rate of only 62%.  A good job is being done at minimizing the number of temporary crossings, properly locating them, and correctly installing them.  According to the BMP Bluebook, all materials used to construct a temporary crossing should be removed immediately once the crossing is no longer needed and the approaches should be restored and stabilized to prevent or at least reduce the chances of sediment washing into the stream.  Round 7 revealed an increase in the implementation rate for removing and stabilizing temporary crossings compared to Round 6.  During Round 6 there was a 31% implementation rate compared to 62% in Round 7.  However, even though an increase in implementation was noted there is still a need to improve in this area in the future.

The second deficiency that was identified during Round 7 was inadequate SMZ widths along intermittent and perennial streams.  The BMP Bluebook states that an SMZ should be left along all perennial and intermittent streams and should have a minimum width of 50 feet and retain a minimum of 50 square feet of basal area per acre evenly distributed.  During Round 7, SMZs had an overall implementation rate of 82% while SMZ width and thinning guidelines (there are eight criteria evaluated for SMZs) had an implementation rate of 66% and 80% respectively.  While most SMZs evaluated during Round 7 met the guidelines regarding thinning within an SMZ most of the SMZs evaluated did not meet the width requirement especially on intermittent streams.  Streamside management zones are extremely important in slowing down runoff and overland flow reducing the chances of sediment or other contaminants reaching the stream.  Also SMZs are important in preventing thermal changes in the stream and are beneficial in providing travel corridors and habitat for wildlife.  Additionally, provisions in Senate Bill 977 provide property tax incentives for leaving SMZs along streams.  Contact your local Texas Forest Service office for more information.

Improvements were also noted during Round 7 compared to previous rounds and next month I will address the areas in which increased implementation was seen.  To view the full 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 March 2009 issue of the Texas Logger

The Texas Water Source - March 2009

March Issue of the Texas Water Source Now Available