Seneca Lake Watershed Forestland BMP Outreach Project
Seneca Lake, NY

Grantee: Finger Lakes RC&D Council, Inc.
Basin Program Funds: $13,000
Non-federal Funds: $8,250
Project Duration: 07/2003 - 08/2004
Status: complete

Problem Statement
The forest product industry depends on the harvesting of timber for its basic raw material. When logging roads, skid trails, log landings, and stream crossings are improperly installed or not maintained, degradation of the environment is accelerated creating erosion conditions and loss of sediment to the water stream.

41% of the land area within the Seneca Lake Watershed is in forestland. In its natural state, forestland has the most benign impact on the environment of any land use. However, the forest product industry depends on the harvesting of timber for its basic raw material.

To address this problem, this project engaged in a number of outreach and education activities designed to raise awareness of and promote forestland Best Management Practices. These included: hosting workshops/tours on the importance of BMPs on forestland, purchasing and distributing copies of brochures on forestland BMPs, developing a PowerPoint presentation, conducting an outdoor classroom activity for high school students, and developing a web site describing forestland BMPs.

A BMP workshop drew nearly 100 participants,. who came away with new insights about the long-term effects of forest erosion, increased awareness of erosion control techniques, and the importance of planning prior to conducting a timber harvest. At another event, 25 government officials, foresters, woodland owners, and educators participated in a group tour of a recent timber harvest site. The site features highly erodable, sloping soils very close to a major tributary of Seneca Lake. A demonstration of the soil-stabilizing impacts of well-implemented BMPs such as harvest timing, waterbars, road layout, and on-site monitoring were conducted.

A CD-ROM tutorial was developed to provide an important introduction to all aspects of forestland erosion control BMPs. The CD-ROM format was utilized for applicability on any computer system as a distance-learning medium, and was fully indexed and navigable throughout. A total of 300 copies were produced, with more than 140 distributed during first month.

A field event for youth explaining basic forestry concepts was well-received. This one-day workshop covered tree identification, timber volume estimation, forest safety, and crop tree management, and was conducted with participating students fully involved in the selection and rationalization of crop tree selection.

By utilizing timber harvesting sites on public and private lands that have followed environmentally sound forest management plans, the project's partners identify, describe, and then promote the proper forestry sediment control BMPs. These included the proper installation of stream crossings, logging roads, water bars, log landings, and critical area seedings, as well as other erosion control techniques.

A web site ( and PowerPoint presentation were integral parts of three workshops/tours designed for public officials, private forest landowners, timber harvesters and the general public. Both were developed by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County, using photos of and background information on various BMPs provided by technical advisors from local Soil & Water Districts, Cornell Cooperative Extension, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and Cotton-Hanlon, Inc.

Contact: Mr. Richard Winnett, (607) 776-7398 Ex. 5


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