Best Management Practices for Forestry: Protecting New Hampshire's Water Quality

stream in a forest

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While this manual is full of helpful information, it isn't New Hampshire's official BMP document. For the official manual see Best Management Practices for Erosion Control on Harvesting Operations in NH.

This handbook is for woodlot owners, loggers, foresters, and others involved in harvest operations. The handbook will help you understand, identify, design, and implement water quality protection measures while meeting other harvest objectives.

What This Handbook Is

This handbook describes Best Management Practices, or BMPs, for protecting water quality during forest harvests. The BMPs include a wide range of recommended techniques that can be used before, during, and after logging operations. Loggers, foresters, and scientists from New Hampshire and other states have developed these techniques from their own practical experience and research.

This book will help you to:

  • Understand how BMPs work. It is more effective, cheaper, and easier to prevent pollution than to fix problems after they occur. When you understand the principles behind BMP techniques, you will be able to anticipate and prevent problems before they end up costing you time and money.
  • Decide which BMPs to use. Harvest sites can vary significantly, and different techniques are appropriate to different sites. By applying BMP principles, you will be able to use your own judgment and this handbook to select the most appropriate and effective BMPs for a particular site.

How to use This Manual

In order to decide how and when to use BMPs, it’s important to understand how they work to protect water quality.

“Section 1: What is Water Quality?” explains different characteristics of water quality, how harvesting practices can affect them, and where it is most critical to use BMPs.

“Section 2: Fundamental BMPs” discusses fundamental BMP principles and key steps toward the overall goal of protecting water quality. These principles give you an overview of the most important things to keep in mind before, during, and after a harvest.

“Section 3: BMPs for Every Stage” lists specific BMPs for stream crossings, truck roads, log landings, skid trails, and harvesting areas. Under each of these headings is a discussion of the planning, construction, maintenance, and closeout BMPs applicable to that topic.

Throughout the manual, you will also find Stop signs that will alert you to potential legal requirements. Yield signs will point out important topics that shouldn’t be overlooked. Each section is color-coded on the edge of the page to make it easier for you to find information about a specific topic.