By: Chuck Coup, Water Resources Forester (Ret.), Texas Forest Service
Q: It has been three years since results for BMP implementation monitoring were published for East Texas. Has the Texas Forest Service updated this report? What is our current implementation rating?
A: Sure have! Texas Forest Service (TFS) has recently concluded and published the results of Best Management Practices (BMP) monitoring Round 8, conducted between June 28, 2010 and September 9, 2011. The full monitoring report (and previous reports) can be downloaded for free off of the TFS Water Resources Website (http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/water). The report documents the findings of forestry BMP implementation across the Piney Woods region.
Implementation monitoring evaluated seven categories of BMPs on recently managed sites: Permanent Roads, Temporary Roads, Stream Crossings, Streamside Management Zones (SMZs), Site Preparation, Landings, and Wetlands. Each tract received an individual score for all seven categories as well as an overall implementation score.
I am very pleased to report that overall BMP implementation across East Texas was found to be at an all-time high – 94%! That means that for any given tract in East Texas we could expect that nearly all of the necessary and appropriate BMPs for that operation would be correctly implemented. That is terrific news, and each and every one of you should be very proud. It is a direct reflection of all the hard work and consideration you put into protecting the quality of water in our State while conducting you forestry operations. For all of you long-timers, you should also be proud at how far BMP implementation has come over the years. When TFS first started BMP monitoring in 1992 the implementation rate was around 79%. That represents a nearly 20% increase in implementation. Go ahead and brag a little.
Overall scores for the individual categories were as follows: Permanent Roads – 95%, Temporary Roads – 98%, Stream Crossings – 85%, SMZs – 90%, Site Preparation – 98%, Landings – 99%, and Wetlands – 98%. All categories except Wetlands have maintained or increased their ratings from the previous round of monitoring. Temporary Roads and Stream Crossings demonstrate the greatest improvements since the last monitoring round. The greatest deficiencies were failing to remove and stabilize stream crossings on temporary roads and inadequate SMZ widths along intermittent and perennial streams. So let’s be sure to pull all of our temporary crossings out before we move off a tract and make sure to leave a full 50 feet of buffer width on either side of any intermittent and perennial stream channels.
Implementation scores were also analyzed across 4 ownership types: Family Forest, Corporate, Industry, and Public. While Family Forest Lands have the lowest overall implementation score of the 4 categories (88%), they saw the greatest improvement since the first monitoring round in 1992 (26% increase). Overall implementation scores for the remaining 3 types were as follows: Corporate – 97%, Industry – 98%, and Public – 98%.
While the 8th Round of BMP monitoring has demonstrated an all-time high BMP implementation rate, the work does not end here. It will take a continued effort to maintain the current score and even more diligence to improve it. But, that is my challenge to you. Let’s keep up the excellent work and show everyone that we are dedicated to conducting our forest operations the right way. Let’s continue to improve the BMP implementation in East Texas!
The Texas Forest Service Water Resources Program is here to help you. If you have a BMP questions or concerns about a particular tract, let us know. We would be happy to schedule a site visit with you and help identify the best method for protecting water quality on your tract. Site-based training is also available to contractors through tailgate sessions, in which Water Resource foresters provide technical assistance during your active forest operation. We will also continue to hold BMP logger training workshops periodically throughout the year. So keep an eye open for those.
To learn more about Texas’s forestry BMPs, please visit the Texas Forest Service website at http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/water or contact the Texas Forest Service Water Resources office in Lufkin (936) 639-8180.
* This article was published in the February 2012 issue of the Texas Logger