April 6, 1998
Forest Management Practices Protecting Florida's Water Bodies
TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Department of Agricultures Division of Forestry is lauding the success of a program designed to control water pollution associated with forestry operations.
Floridas Best Management Practices (BMP) Program, first established in the 1970s, underwent a major revision in 1993 with extensive input from the environmental community. The changes addressed concerns that timber and other forestry operations were damaging Floridas water resources adjacent to the activities.
A two-year study has been done on the BMP Program to answer an important question -- was it working? The results of that first-of-its-kind study indicate the answer is a resounding yes. The Division of Forestry is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring the Best Management Practices Program. Public and private forestry operations are randomly selected to monitor for compliance. On average, the compliance rate is over 90 percent.
The study looked at the amount and type of living organisms in water bodies before any forestry activity was conducted and again afterwards. The results showed no change in the aquatic life of the water bodies.
Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Bob Crawford says, "in Florida, where more than 15 million acres are forested, its crucial that steps be taken to protect and maintain water quality, aquatic habitat and the overall health of water bodies. This quantitative research shows that the BMPs associated with silviculture operations are effective even on high-risk sites with intensive forestry operations."
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