Forestry Commission reports high compliance by loggers in protecting water quality

2013-10-30T11:00:00Z Forestry Commission reports high compliance by loggers in protecting water qualityS.C. Forestry Commission The Times and Democrat
October 30, 2013 11:00 am  • 

COLUMBIA -- In what continues to be a long-running success story for the timber industry and the Forestry Commission, the non-regulatory guidelines known as Best Management Practices are protecting South Carolina jobs, land, and water every day of the year.

In fact, South Carolina’s logging industry has a strong record of being proactive about protecting water.

“We have 93 percent compliance with the guidelines laid out in our BMP program,” reported Guy Sabin, environmental program manager for the Forestry Commission.

BMPs provide guidelines for constructing logging roads, minimizing stream crossings, establishing buffer zones and other aspects of forestry operations which could impact water quality. These standards are spelled out in a guidebook published by the commission. It’s available for free at trees.sc.gov, the agency’s website.

In addition to the written guidance, specially trained foresters, with the commission also offers free courtesy exams statewide to keep loggers and landowners from running afoul of state and federal environmental protection laws.

“Landowners and folks who work in the timber industry in South Carolina know how to run clean operations, so we don’t often have to refer cases to the Department of Health and Environmental Control,” Sabin says.

“It’s just good business to stick to BMPs, and that’s why we see high voluntary compliance.”

Forestry and timber products drive the economy in South Carolina, to the tune of $17 billion a year in economic impact. Among manufacturing sectors, forestry is number one in jobs and wages paid to South Carolinians.

Landowners harvesting timber can get a free BMP Courtesy Exam by contacting the SC Forestry Commission at 803-896-8593.

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