New Report and Interactive Map Detail Best Management Practices for States

Partner Highlight: National Association of State Foresters

Setting a streamside management zone (SMZ) is one of the best management practices used by forest managers. The blue painted tree marks the edge of the SMZ. Photo courtesy of Bugwood.org.
Setting a streamside management zone (SMZ) is one of the best management practices used by forest managers. The blue painted tree marks the edge of the SMZ. Photo courtesy of Bugwood.org.

In recognition of Earth Day, the National Association for State Foresters (NASF) has released a report on forestry best management practices (BMPs) for water quality, along with an interactive map detailing practices in each state.

State forestry agencies have been developing BMPs since the 1970s, building a reliable set of standards that help protect local water quality when undertaking silvicultural activities.

“Best management practices are an effective way of protecting water quality and preventing pollution,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester and NASF President. “Much of the nation’s drinking water originates from forests and these measures ensure that those lands continue to provide such an important societal need.”

The research project analyzing data submitted by all 50 states was conducted by a team of researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and commissioned by NASF. The research confirms that state-managed best management practices programs are effective and working as intended to protect water quality.

State forestry agency BMPs cover activities on nearly 500 million acres of state and private forestland. These forests provide a wide range of public benefits, including filtering more than 50 percent of the nation’s drinking water. State forestry agencies can use the research findings to continue to evolve and improve their best management programs by comparing how other states approach this responsibility.

An interactive, state-by-state map has been developed to display the research findings and recommendations from all 50 state forestry agencies for BMP implementation. The map is the most recent, complete and comprehensive map of research studies in this field, and provides the forest sector access to the standards and regulations that guide the responsible management of woodlands in each state.

Landowners and forest product manufacturers who participate in forest certification can use the map to address water quality protection requirements in certification standards.  Policy makers can gain a comprehensive understanding of how provisions of the federal Clean Water Act are supported by each state forestry agency.

The project was funded by NASF, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.’s Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program.

The National Association of State Foresters is comprised of the directors of state and territorial forestry agencies and the District of Columbia. NASF seeks to advance sustainable forestry, conservation, and protection of forestlands and their associated resources.

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