Posted: July 12, 2019

For more than 20 years, the Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) Professional Timber Harvester Training Program has been teaching loggers how to properly implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect water quality during timber harvesting operations.

The Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee evaluates the success of this training through a report that the Pennsylva¬nia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) publishes biennially. Last week, DEP released the 2018 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report. This comprehensive analysis of more than 85,000 miles of the Commonwealth's streams and rivers serves as an important barometer for how well BMPs are being implemented on timber harvesting operations across the state.

The 2018 report identifies 36 classes of impairment sources, of which "Silviculture" was the identified source for only 7 miles of impaired streams (third lowest source of impairments on the list). This represents a 61% decrease from the 2016 report, and accounts for only 0.04% of the total 17,498 impaired stream miles across Pennsylvania!

Unfortunately, it is much easier for a stream to get on the impaired list, than to get off. The Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee has been working directly with DEP to reclassify a number of silviculturally impaired stream miles that were added to the report decades ago and are no longer subject to logging impacts. We were mostly successful, but it is worth noting that, of the 7 impaired miles still listed in the 2018 report, 3.5 of them were added in 1998. The Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee will continue working to have these streams re-evaluated and reclassified so that future reports accurately reflect the industry's impact on Pennsylvania's water resources.

These results continue to demonstrate the success of the Pennsylvania SFI Professional Timber Harvester Training Program and are a testament to the dedication of all training participants working across the state.

The Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee will continue to play a significant role in keeping Pennsylvania's waterways clean, which, in turn, will keep added regulatory pressure low. Foresters and landowners can help by requiring that their timber harvests be conducted by an SFI Qualified Logging Professional. Verification is available through our website.

For more information about the Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee, please visit the website or call 888-734-9366.

Center for Private Forests

Address

416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

Center for Private Forests

Address

416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802