Water Quality BMPs on Forest Lands
Chemung County Soil & Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds:
Without proper guidance on the use and implementation of best management practices
(BMPs), local ordinances to regulate timber harvesting fall short on minimizing
off-site damages to streams, fish, wildlife habitat, and other water bodies.
According to a statistic prepared by the U.S. Forest Service, 62% or 18.6 million
acres of New York's land area in 1993 was forested. Timber harvesting, if managed
properly, can have long-term benefits to wildlife, water resources, and recreational
opportunities. However, timber harvesting is also a disruptive affair even under
the best of circumstances. If not planned and implemented properly, the four
major elements of loggingtruck roads, skid trails, landings, and tree
fallingcan have major negative impacts on forest and water resources.
According to U.S. Forest Service research, improperly installed skid trails
can result in excess of 800 tons of soil being eroded per acre each year.
In the late 1970s, Chemung County, New York witnessed firsthand the direct
result of improperly installed skid trails and truck roads. In efforts to prevent
future problems, many local municipalities enacted ordinances and/or notification
requirements to regulate logging. Such ordinances require BMPs to be implemented
that will minimize soil erosion and protect water quality. However, these legislative
actions are often enforced by personnel with little or no knowledge on how to
properly plan and implement BMPs.
To ensure that BMPs for timber harvesting activities are properly planned and
implemented, the Chemung County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) undertook
a two-pronged approach to disseminate information about BMPs on forest lands
the Chemung SWCD: 1) prepared a field manual pertaining to forestry titled Best
Management Practices During Timber Harvesting Operations; and 2) developed and
published an informational pamphlet called Do You Own Forest Land? for private
Information for these products was obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, U.S. Forest Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,
and State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Local ordinances from towns in Chemung County were also collected.
The manual was reviewed by a technical committee that included representatives
from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture — Natural Resources Conservation Service. The completed
manual consists of a full-color laminated cover and approximately 40 pages of
text, photographs, and illustrations. The manual includes sections on nonpoint
source pollution, timber harvesting, forest roads and skid trails, stream-side
management zones, freshwater wetlands and permit requirements, stream crossing
structures and permit requirements, soil stabilization, financial and technical
assistance, and best management practices as well as a glossary of terms. Several
reference appendices are also included containing information on technical assistance
sources, regulations, and financial assistance opportunities.
pamphlet is a tri-folded 8 ½ by 11-inch sheet with information about owning
forest land printed on both sides. The pamphlet includes a matrix to assist
landowners in finding the appropriate sources of assistance for commercial logging,
timber stand improvement, erosion control, education, tree planting, financial
assistance, and stream permits.
A total of 2,500 copies of the pamphlet were printed.
Contact: Chemung County Soil & Water Conservation District, (607) 739-3009