Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June BMP Q&A

By: Chris Duncan, BMP Forester (Ret.), Texas Forest Service

Q:   I have recently purchased a tract of land for timber investment which was clear-cut by the previous owner last February.  My forester suggested we mechanically “site prep” the land to get ready for planting early next year.  Are there any precautions we should take in relation to forestry best management practices?

A:   The major problems associated with site preparation involve soil erosion and potential sedimentation from runoff.  The primary factors contributing to erosion from runoff are percent of area with exposed soil, degree of slope, and soil type.  Remember the following points in order to protect your stream and roads during the site prep operation:

In General:
Conduct earth moving activities along the contour of the land
  • The boundaries of all streamside management zones (SMZs) should be clearly defined before beginning site prep activities.
  • Plan ahead to minimize disturbance from equipment within the SMZ.
  • Avoid intensive preparation on steep slopes and on this or highly erodible soils.
  • Ripping, shearing, windrowing, and mechanical planting should follow the contour of the land.
  • Provide water outlets on bedded or furrowed areas at locations that will minimize soil movement. Discharge water onto a vegetated surface.
  • All reasonable attempts should be made to stabilize and repair erosion resulting from site preparation operations.
  • All reasonable attempts should be made to avoid damaging existing water control devices such as culverts, waterbars, and wing ditches. Damage to any existing water control structures should be repaired immediately.

If you are planning chemical preparation:
  • Always read and follow all guidelines on the manufacturer’s label before applying silvicultural chemicals.
  • Carefully plan the application to avoid direct and indirect entry of chemicals into streams and impoundments.
  • Avoid applying chemicals to vegetation protecting eroded slopes, gullies, drainages, and other fragile areas subject to erosion.
  • Use a spray device capable of immediate shutoff.
  • Should a spill occur, shovel a dike around the spill.  Use an absorbent material to soak up the spill.  Keep all spill fluids from flowing into streams or other water bodies.  Some spills will require notifying appropriate authorities.
  • Before disposal, containers should be rinsed three times and rinsate should be applied in spray form to the treatment area. All containers should be disposed of in accordance with Manufacturer’s recommendations.
If you have any questions about site preparation BMPs or BMP’s in general please feel free to call me at (903) 297-3910 or email me at cduncan@tfs.tamu.edu.

* This article was published in the June 2010 issue of the Texas Logger

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