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Water: Forestry

National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Forestry

EPA 841-B-05-001, May 2005

This report helps forest owners protect lakes and streams from polluted runoff that can result from forestry activities. These scientifically sound techniques are the best practices known today. The report will also help states to implement their nonpoint source control programs. Note: The guidance is national in scope, so it does not address local or regional soils, climates, or forest types.

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.


What YOU can do!

What's the problem?

When forest trees are cut for their wood, open spaces and bare ground are left behind. Without the trees to protect the ground, rainwater can cause the soil to erode, and that can pollute forest streams.

What kind of pollution is produced during a forest harvest?

Sediment is the most common pollutant from forest harvests. Sediment is the soil eroded by rain after forest harvesting equipment and trees dragged over the ground loosen the soil. Forestry equipment, like haul trucks and tractors, can also spill gas and oil on the ground, and that can run off with rainwater to streams and lakes, too. Pesticides and fertilizers can pollute streams and lakes if they are not used properly.

What is EPA doing about it today?

Part of our job is to keep streams from becoming polluted. We are publishing the guide and making it available for free.

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Is this a regulatory action?

No. Use of the information in the guidance is voluntary, though many states have requirements for protecting water quality during forest harvests. Check with your state department of forestry.

Why should I protect water quality?

Sediment decreases water quality for fish and other stream animals and plants. Even if the water appears clear, some sediment remains. Also, what you put into the stream on your property flows to the next property owner. Consider whether you'd want your upstream neighbors to send sediment and other pollutants to your property.

What are other organizations doing about it?

Many states have published similar guides, and national forestry associations and state departments of forestry have created training programs for forestry workers.

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What YOU Can Do!
What can I do about it?

First, use the guidance and the techniques it describes. You can also learn more at the following sites.

How do I know whether the state I live in requires me to do the types of things that are in the guidance?

Contact your state department of forestry. See the links above.

How do I know whether the guidance will be helpful to me?

Check the table of contents and the overview, and skim a few chapters. Because the guidance is free, there's no cost to you to look at it. If you have forested property that you are thinking of harvesting, or that you have harvested in the past, the guidance can help you better protect water quality.

Where can I get a copy of the guidance?

You can receive a free copy of this guidance by contacting the National Service Center for Environmental Publications via phone at 1-800-490-9198 or via the Web at www.epa.gov/ncepihom and requesting Publication # EPA 841-B-05-001. You can also download the document using the links below.

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The Guidance

Note:The full Guidance document is a very large file that may take a long time to download. The individual parts (chapters and other divisions) of the full document are much smaller files that will open quicker. Opening the smaller files is the recommended viewing method.


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