Maine’s forestry community continues to protects water quality during timber harvests, MFS study shows

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 2018-2019. BMPs are voluntary measures used to protect water quality. BMP use and effectiveness at timber harvesting operations is monitored regularly by the Maine Forest Service’s 10 District Foresters and Water Resources Specialist. The results of these monitoring efforts are reported biannually.

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

  • A substantial majority (78%) 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-eight percent (88%) 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 (96%) of sites showed no evidence of chemical spills. Properly securing and storing these chemicals is a vital BMP, as is being prepared with a plan and the proper equipment if a spill occurs.
  • When applied appropriately, BMPs were effective at preventing sedimentation from entering water bodies. Sedimentation events were strongly correlated with inadequate application of BMPs, or lack of maintenance of BMPs.
  • Ninety-four percent (94%) of sample sites had no wetland crossing. Wetlands were either avoided, or effective BMPs were used to cross.
    “On behalf of the Maine Forest Service, thank you to all that work in the forestry business for your continued success in protecting our water resources in Maine,” said Maine Forest Service Director Patty Cormier. “As the results of this report show, the water quality guidelines, or Best Management Practices are being taken seriously and being implemented successfully. We all need to take care of our natural resources, and this shows the forestry sector has stepped up to the plate to do so.”

The full report is available on the Maine Forest Service website at: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/policy_management/water_resources/bmps.html

For more information please contact Maine Forest Service Water Resources Specialist, Tom Gilbert at 287-1073 or thomas.gilbert@maine.gov