top of page


Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) are actions that landowners and professionals can adopt to conserve water and reduce the spread of pollution on their lands and bodies of water arising from forestry activites. 

Below you can find information (from Watershed Academy Web) on several Forestry BMPs that can improve the health of forests and aquatic life. 

* Please Note: BMPs outlined below are examples. Check with the appropriate state agency to determine applicable BMPs in your area.


You can also access an online training course through the Environmental Protection Agency's  Watershed Academy Web

Pre-harvest Planning- A pre-harvest plan should be developed before any site work and consider the location of natural drainage channels, important wildlife habitat, topography and soil type. Pre-harvest planning will help you avoid sensitive sites like wetlands and riparian areas and reduce the risk of non-point source pollution. 

Streamside Management Zones - Streamside management zones (SMZs) are buffer strips of a width specified in state BMPs, consisting of the existing native vegetation communities along the stream corridor. If the terrain is steep, subject to erosion, or significant timber harvesting is planned for the edge of the streamside management zone, the width should be larger to protect the water body.


To limit the disturbance in streamside management zones consider:

  • roads should not be constructed in SMZs except for designated crossings

  • operate vehicles only on roads in SMZs

  • do not side cast road construction materials in SMZs

  • do not apply or discard hazardous chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides in SMZs, and

  • do not deposit slash or waster timber in SMZs. 

Forest Wetlands Protection - Protect your wetlands by:

  • suspending operations when soils are saturated, 

  • maintaining that natural contour of the site,

  • specific ultra-wide flotation tires should be used to reduce soil compaction

  • gravel or crushed rock should be used when road fill is absolutely necessary

Road Construction - Well-located, constructed, and maintained forest roads can minimize the major source of water pollution associated with silvicultural activities.


When possible:

  • minimize wetland and stream road crossings,

  • identify locations and design roads where water will be drained off road into well drained, vegetated areas  

  • design roads to follow natural contours

  • obtain the necessary permits from your local and state environmental resources agencies

Revegetation - Return native vegetation to your site as soon as possible to prevent soil erosion and slow water movement. There are other techniques that can help reduce erosion in short term, as restoring vegetation can take time.


These other techniques include:

  • installation of water bars and diversion ditches,

  • use of sediment traps, hay bales, or silt fences to capture sediment

  • avoiding wet season logging

  • seeding and mulching disturbed sites

Forest Chemical Management - Consider the following when working with chemicals:

  • comply with applicable local, state and federal regulations,

  • monitor weather conditions to prevent drift or runoff of chemicals,

  • do not apply chemicals in streamside management zones, and

  • develop a spill contingency plan to identify actions to take in the event of a chemical spill. 

bottom of page