Questions about forestry best management practices (BMP) answered by Texas A&M Forest Service:
     + What are Forestry BMPs?
    Best Management Practices (PDF, 4 MB) are conservation practices implemented on site that protect water quality from nonpoint source pollution during forestry operations. BMPs can include methods such as leaving a buffer zone of trees next to a stream, installing a culvert to cross a waterway or establishing grass on forest roads to prevent erosion.
     + What Is Nonpoint Source Pollution?
    NPS pollution comes from diffuse areas. It is caused when rainfall or snowmelt runoff moves over the ground and picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants (such as sediment or hydraulic oil), depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and even our underground sources of drinking water.
     + Why are BMPs Important?
    BMPs help protect water quality, which is critical for people and wildlife to survive. Streams and other water systems supply cities with the resources they need to meet the water demands of their citizens. This includes water to drink, wash clothes and water their yards and gardens.
     + How Can Forestry Affect Water Quality?
    Forestry operations, when conducted improperly, can cause erosion that can contribute excess soil to streams, lakes and rivers (this is called sedimentation). This can harm aquatic organisms and cause higher water treatment costs, as well as shorten the life span of a lake or reservoir. Harvesting all of the trees along streams can raise the temperature of the water. This can have harmful effects on aquatic organisms and wildlife that depend on the cool water temperatures created by streamside trees.
     + Are These BMPs Laws?
    No. In Texas, protecting water quality during forestry operations is best achieved through a voluntary, education based approach. However, when operating in a wetland, certain BMPs are regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Including specific BMPs in timber sale contracts can also provide legal grounds for implementation.
     + What are Wetlands?
    Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season. This generally includes swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas.
     + What Is SFI?
    The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program (SFI) is a comprehensive third party certification system comprised of numerous principles, objectives and performance measures developed by professional foresters, conservationists and scientists, among others that ensure the sustainability of forest management practices for all the forestlands and products they certify. BMPs are an important component of SFI.
     + What Can I Do to Help?
    Landowners, loggers and foresters should all become aware of BMPs since we are all responsible for maintaining clean water for Texans to enjoy. Insist on following BMPs during forestry operations by including them in a contract, obtaining professional assistance and choosing a BMP trained contractor or logger.
     + What Is the Texas Pro Logger Program?
    Texas Forestry Association developed the Texas Professional Logger Program in 1996 to provide continuing education for loggers. The program aims to increase environmental awareness, sustainable forestry practices and OSHA safety requirements among those who manage Texas forestland. Individual workshops are scheduled throughout the year.
     + When Is the Next Logger Training Class Offered?
    The SFI Training Task Force sets logger training workshop schedules and approved continuing education opportunities. The Texas Forestry Association maintains the calendar for those events.