Technical Bulletins & Special Reports

Technical Bulletin No. 0966: Compendium of Forestry Best Management Practices for Controlling Nonpoint Source Pollution in North America

Federal laws in the United States and Canada have established national goals and legal frameworks for controlling point and nonpoint sources of water pollution. In both countries, federal authorities collaborate with state/provincial authorities to achieve national goals. By law and tradition, states and provinces have leading roles in controlling water quality problems associated with nonpoint sources (NPS) of water pollution. In most jurisdictions, forest management is a minor source of NPS pollution compared to other land uses but can nevertheless cause important impacts on water resources if implemented without control and mitigation measures. States and provinces have therefore developed management guidelines and prescriptions for controlling sources of NPS pollution associated with forest management activities. In this report, we refer to such guidelines and prescriptions as best management practices (BMPs) while recognizing that many states and provinces use other terms. This report documents differences and similarities in forestry BMPs among jurisdictions. The differences are attributable to variability among jurisdictions in legal, political, and socioeconomic factors as well as climate, soils, topography, and aquatic biota. Similarities are attributable to the fact that forestry BMPs are based on a substantial body of research that has 1) identified the most important causes of NPS pollution in managed forests and 2) demonstrated the effectiveness of NPS control and mitigation measures that are embodied in BMPs.