Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April BMP Q&A

By: Jake Donellan, BMP Forester (Ret.), Texas Forest Service

Q:   In the past couple of articles you have mentioned that the forestry community has achieved a BMP implementation rate of 91.7% in the “last round.” When was the last round completed and when will we know the results of the next round?

A:   The Texas Forest Service BMP Program currently conducts its implementation monitoring study on a three year cycle. The study has been conducted in various intervals since the TFS BMP Program began in 1989, with the most common interval being two years between studies and the longest interval between studies being four years. It is important to know that there have been some modifications to the forms used to evaluate BMP implementation over the years. The method of evaluation remained the same in the first two rounds of monitoring but by the third round, an improved, less subjective form was adopted and put into use. The sites that were evaluated in the third round were actually evaluated using both forms so a basis of comparison could be made to the earlier rounds.

The first report, Round I, was published in October 1992 and included sites evaluated from mid-1990 to mid-1992. The Round I study found that overall BMP implementation rates were about 88% (79% based on the current BMP implementation evaluation form) and it noted major deficiencies in several major categories of evaluation: permanent roads, temporary roads, streamside management zones, site preparation.
The second report was published four years later in March 1996 with this being the longest interval between monitoring cycles. The Round II study found that overall BMP implementation rates actually dropped to 87.4% (76% based on the current form). Since this study concluded in 1996, there has yet to be another drop in implementation rates.

After 1996, a two year monitoring cycle was adopted so that in 1998, 2000, and 2002, three more rounds of monitoring took place and subsequently three additional reports were published: Round III, Round IV, and Round V. During this six year span, the BMP implementation rate increased from 83.7% in 1998 to a 90.8% in 2002. Progress was definitely made during this period of monitoring to increase implementation rates, minimize non-point source pollution, and improve on the major deficiencies noted in Round I of monitoring.

After 2002, a three year monitoring cycle was adopted, primarily for managerial reasons related to the Federal grant that helps fund the BMP program, so that the next report was published in 2005. In this round, Round VI, BMP implementation rates reached 91.7% which is the implementation number that has been referred to most recently in my articles and also in other publications and at presentations. Simple math indicated that the next report is due out some time this year. In fact, the report will be completed by August 31st and a publication of the results will most likely be available in September or soon thereafter. It is still too early to say if the implementation rate will continue its increase or not but whatever the case, we will have a new number for you soon.

For more information regarding BMPs consult the Texas Forestry Best Management Practices book (a.k.a. the “Bluebook”), contact your local Texas Forest Service office, or you can contact me.

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

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