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Cooperative Extension Helps Loggers Protect Water Quality

Cooperative Extension Helps Loggers Protect Water Quality

Cooperative Extension Helps Loggers Protect Water Quality


The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is providing loggers the tools they need to employ Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect water quality in the state's forestland.

As of 2000, the Kentucky Forest Conservation Act requires loggers to follow BMPs during commercial harvests and to have a trained Kentucky Master Logger on site.

"BMPs are techniques or practices that you use during forestry operations or timber harvesting operations to reduce water pollution," said Jeff Stringer, UK Extension forestry specialist. "Normally these practices are done to reduce erosion and thus reduce mud going in the water, to make sure you maintain shade on a stream by reducing the amount of cutting around the stream, and to make sure treetops and other residue are kept out of the stream."

Placing erosion barriers on logging roads, keeping roads and log decks the proper distance from streams, and seeding grass onto roads after they are used are common BMPs according to Stringer. Determining the slope of a logging road or the slope of ground next to a stream is a critical part of correctly installing BMPs .

Taking measurements like these and making the calculations in the forest can be difficult. However, a small, portable device called the "Logging BMP Gauge," developed by UK's Cooperative Extension Service, makes taking these measurements and calculations much easier.

"The BMP gauge was designed as a cheap and effective means of determining slope percent for loggers. Not only that, all the slope-dependent BMP information can be read directly from the gauge, rather than having to go to a reference manual," Stringer said.

Stringer published information on the gauge in the fall 2000 "Forest Operations Review." The article detailed the design and uses for the Logging BMP Gauge that is calibrated according to Kentucky Forestry BMP standards. For this article he won the Forest Resources Association's 2002 national award for best technical publication.

Close to 2,000 gauges have been purchased by Kentucky loggers. The gauge, for which a patent is pending, is drawing interest from other states. The University of Kentucky department of forestry even will manufacture gauges for other states calibrated to their specifications.

"We are currently manufacturing them for the state of Minnesota with slightly different specifications," said Stringer. "We made an original run of 450 for them and we are making an additional run of 300."

The 3-inch by 6-inch gauge is a quarter of an inch thick and is inexpensive - less than $10 - and can be purchased from the Kentucky Master Logger Office at UK's department of forestry.


Contact Information

Scovell Hall Lexington, KY 40546-0064