Best Management Practices

   Best Management Practices, abbreviated BMP, are a list of rules that should be followed to protect water
quality. This is an important part of forest operations and if ignored or implemented improperly can cause
problems. There can be fines from the government and the cost to fix problems can be a lot greater than the
gain of not following the rules. Most of these rules are guidelines but in some areas certain rules have to be
followed exactly. 

           Forests are important resources for everyone as is water quality. A properly managed and harvested
forest can be a vital part in soil stabilization. This results in clean water that we all need to survive. Forest
operations provide very little of the nations water pollution problems even with sediment but they do receive a
lot of attention and it is very important that we do whatever is possible to ensure water quality by doing our
part. It’s like they say, we all live down stream from somebody else.

What do BMP’s involve?

One thing that the BMP manual covers is buffers around streams.  It is important to buffer the streams in clear cuts because it stops the sediment caused by logging to reach the streams. Sediment is the number one water pollutant in this area.  The guidelines for buffers in streams include how wide to make them and what trees can be removed from the buffers.

           Another thing that the BMP manual covers is road construction. If a road is constructed poorly, it will last the logging but it will rut and allow a fast flow of water to flow down it. A good road has broad based dips and even water bars to control water flow that can rut the road and transport sediment and aide in erosion.

           There are many other topics that are covered in the manual that need to be followed such as logging operations, equipment fluids, forest management chemicals, rules regarding wetlands, skid trails, loading decks, fire management, site preparation, reforestation, and site stabilization. BMP regulations are in Virginia as well as North Carolina and are in some areas  must be checked by the forest service.