BMP Guides:

Water Quality BMPs:

Protecting our natural resources is a critical part of a successful timber harvest. Studies have shown that timber harvesting is not a major cause of water quality problems. However, the forest truck roads, skid trails, and landings used to remove trees from the forest are vulnerable to erosion. Erosion can damage or destroy these access systems making it more expensive or impossible to use them in the future. Sedimentation—caused when the eroded soil finds its way into a stream, wetland, pond, or lake—can damage fish and other wildlife habitat as well as drinking water supplies. These problems can trigger a negative reaction from neighbors and the general public, and they may violate state or local water protection laws. They’ve also led to local timber harvesting ordinances. A good way to avoid controversies and restrictions on timber harvesting is to use Best Management Practices (BMPs).

BMPs are simple techniques you can use on your timber harvest to protect our natural resources. BMPs are designed to:

  • Protect water quality by minimizing erosion and surface water run-off.
  • Maintain hydrologic processes by limiting disturbances to water flow patterns.
  • Maintain water temperature along shorelines and streambanks.
  • Protect nutrient balances in the soil.

Ultimately, BMPs help keep forests healthy and maintain public support for timber harvesters and forest management.

This field guide is a practical tool for loggers, foresters, woodlot owners, and others involved in harvest operations. It provides a menu of options to give professionals the flexibility they need to make decisions in the field.

BMPs aren’t just something you do at the end of a job. They’re a mindset, an approach to the whole timber harvesting process that respects the land. That’s why this guide is organized by time, with different BMPs to consider before, during, and after the harvest.

The BMPs in this guide are compliant with Section 319 of the 1987 Amendment to the Clean Water Act as well as the EPA-approved New York State Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan. That plan outlines a voluntary, education, and promotion-based approach to implementing BMPs.

This field guide focuses on water quality. BMP manuals from other States may include guidelines to protect other forest values such as visual quality and wildlife habitat. These values are also important, but they are not the focus of this guide.

This field guide has not been designed to provide a required standard for use in enforcement. It is not a regulatory handbook. It does not present a single prescription that can or should be applied in all cases. The ultimate objective is to have a safe, economically viable timber harvest that protects water quality.

To view the full document, click Here

Rare Threatened and Endangered Species BMP Guide

New York State’s 19 million acres of biodiverse forests are home to many rare, threatened and endangered species that rely on these woodlands to provide food, shelter and habitat for breeding. Some forest management actions can have adverse effects on at-risk species, while other management actions can be advantageous and improve habitat and population levels. This booklet is written for foresters, loggers, landowners, and other individuals who work on forested lands that contain rare, threatened or endangered species. It will provide guidance on identifying the locations of threatened and endangered species, and explain the regulations and guidelines that help protect these species while still allowing for sustainable forest harvesting operations.

New York State and Federally listed endangered and threatened plants and animals and their immediate habitats are protected by New York State and
federal laws, regulations, and guidelines. These are in place to help safeguard the remaining populations or habitats of these species and must be followed during forest management operations. If a listed animal lives on or performs essential behaviors on your harvest site, you must comply with these laws, regulations, and guidelines to avoid a take and to avoid impacting the listed animal’s habitat.

IMPORTANT: The first step when considering threatened and endangered species in a forest is to check the Environmental Resource Mapper at One of the data layers available through this in-line tool depicts the approximate locations of threatened and endangered species and the buffer zones required for management around those species. If your harvest site is within the ERM buffer zone for a threatened or endangered species you will need to contact the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for guidance. Their staff will work with you to determine the management tactics for your harvest. See the On-Line Tools section (page 9) for complete information about this and other useful web based tools.

The RTES booklet includes general guidance on management regulations and recommendations for selected threatened and endangered species. Beyond those officially listed, there are other species of concern which are limited in number or unique to certain habitats that are worth trying to protect through special management considerations. Recommendations provided in this guide for these species of special concern are considered to be best management practices.

These guidance pieces have been developed in coordination with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Bureau of Wildlife and the New York Natural Heritage Program and are current as of summer 2018.

To view the full RTES Guide, please follow this link.