Maine’s forestry community protects water quality during timber harvesting

MFS and the forestry community have increased their emphasis on BMP training for land managers and woods workers

AUGUSTA — Today, the results of a study on the use and effectiveness of forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) at timber harvests across the state from 2020-2021 were released by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Forest Service (MFS). BMPs are voluntary measures used to protect water quality. BMP use and effectiveness at timber harvesting operations are monitored regularly by the Maine Forest Service’s ten District Foresters and Water Resources Specialists. The results of these monitoring efforts are reported biannually.

The following are key findings of this year’s report:

  • Sixty-eight percent of sites had BMPs applied appropriately on crossings and approaches, or crossings were avoided. MFS BMPs emphasize planning harvests to avoid crossing streams whenever feasible.
  • Eighty-four percent of sites evaluated for sediment input found no sediment entered a waterbody. A significant goal of BMPs is keeping sediment from reaching water bodies.
  • Ninety-six percent of sites showed no evidence of chemical spills. Properly securing and storing chemicals is a vital BMP, as is being prepared with a plan and the proper equipment if a spill occurs.
  • When applied appropriately, BMPs effectively prevented sedimentation from entering water bodies. Sedimentation events were strongly correlated with inadequate application of BMPs or lack of maintenance of BMPs.
  • Ninety-six percent of sample sites had no wetland crossing. Wetlands were avoided, or effective BMPs were used to cross.

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