AUGUSTA — The Maine Forest Service (MFS) has released the results of a study on the use and effectiveness of forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) at timber harvests across the state from 2016-2017. BMPs are voluntary measures used to protect water quality. BMPs use and effectiveness at timber harvesting operations is monitored regularly by the Maine Forest Service’s ten (10) District Foresters. The results of these monitoring efforts are reported biannually.
Key findings of this year’s report:
- Seventy-three percent (73%) of sites had BMPs applied appropriately on crossings and approaches, or crossings were avoided. Stream crossings and their associated approaches represent a high-risk area for sedimentation of surface waters. MFS BMPs emphasize planning harvests to minimize the number of crossings. When stream crossings are needed, properly applying BMP principles will minimize risk to the waterbody.
- Eighty-three percent (83%) of sites evaluated for sediment input found no sediment entered a waterbody. A major goal of BMPs is keeping sediment from reaching waterbodies. It is essential that the BMPs chosen effectively achieve this goal. The outcome is more important than the BMP practice used.
- BMPs were effective at preventing sedimentation from entering waterbodies. Sedimentation events were strongly correlated with inadequate application of BMPs, or lack of maintenance of BMPs. When BMPs were applied appropriately the risk of sediment entering a waterbody was very low.
- Wetlands either were avoided or effective BMPs were used to cross. Crossing wetlands risks compromising their natural hydrology if not done properly. Ninety-four percent of sample sites had no wetland crossing. The majority of wetlands that were crossed had BMPs used to limit rutting, indicating effective use of BMPs.
“I am pleased to see the continuing trend of Maine’s Forestry community taking seriously the protection of water quality,” said Maine Forest Service Director Doug Denico. “The results of our ongoing monitoring efforts reflect the value of the education and outreach work we do with our many partners.”
The full report is available on the Maine Forest Service website at: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/
For more information please contact Maine Forest Service Water Resources Specialist, Tom Gilbert at (207) 287-1073 or firstname.lastname@example.org
–Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
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