Monday, February 4, 2013

PA DEP Report Confirms Minimal Impact of Silvicultural Activities

I wanted to share with you the 2012 Pennsylvania Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report, which the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is required to file with U.S. EPA.  Specifically, the report states that nearly 20 percent or 16,599 miles of streams in Pennsylvania do not meet water quality standards.  Of this, 19 miles of impaired streams are attributed to silviculture and 2 mile are attributed to forest roads.  Combined, that is 21 miles total --- meaning that less than 0.13% (thirteen one-hundreds of a percent) of the state’s impaired stream miles are attributed to forestry activities.  This is great news in light of efforts out west to enforce a ruling that logging roads be treated as point sources of pollution.

For comparison; agriculture contributes 34% of the impaired stream miles, mine drainage contributes 34% of the impaired stream miles, and urban run-off 15% of the impaired stream miles in Pennsylvania.  Even golf courses are the source of more stream impairment that forestry.

This report demonstrates the overall negligible negative impact that timber harvesting has on water quality and the effectiveness of state forestry Best Management Practices taught by the Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative and others.  It reflects the continued efforts of the many loggers, timber buyers, and forest landowners to implement BMPs and protect water quality during forestry operations.

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