Water Quality


Water qualityIn an effort to minimize erosion and stream sedimentation from forestry practices, the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) has an agreement with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to educate the forest community and promote the use of forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Under the same agreement with EPD and through an understanding with the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers, the GFC also investigates and mediates forestry water quality and wetland complaints. The agreement also requires the GFC to monitor BMP implementation.

In July of 1997, the state of Georgia came under a federal court order that requires well over 1,100 Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) rates and Implementation Plans to be developed by 2004 on 800+ water quality impaired stream segments identified in a 2000 report. The GFC developed the forestry component for those TMDL plans.

Since January 2003, the GFC is conducting monthly BMP Assurance examinations in an effort to provide "reasonable assurance" that forestry operations are complying with the BMPs and meet any TMDL requirements.

Online BMP Learning Modules

The Georgia Forestry Commission has partnered with Georgia Environmental Protection Division and Southeastern Wood Producers Association to produce a number of online Best Management Practices learning modules. These modules address various areas of BMP implementation and should provide a tool to landowners, foresters, loggers, timber buyers, and other forestry stakeholders in carrying out forestry activities in an environmentally sensitive manner.

  1. Forest Roads - information needed for properly planning, constructing, using and maintaining forest access roads.
  2. Pre-harvest Planning - tips for planning a timber harvest with particular emphasis on planning for proper BMP implementation.
  3. Stream Classification - information needed to correctly determine stream types, which is in turn necessary for choosing proper streamside management zone BMPs, stream crossing BMPs, etc.
  4. Temporary Stream Crossings - a guide to correctly choosing, installing, removing and stabilizing temporary stream crossings needed for timber harvesting.

Anyone needing additional assistance in answering BMP implementation questions can contact GFC's Water Quality Program Coordinator at 912-592-2316 or sthackston@gfc.state.ga.us.

Learning modules similar to these are available for Continuing Logger Credit through Southeastern Wood Producers Association for a nominal charge.

Forest-Water Connection Projects

The critical link between forestland and clean water is coming into clearer focus with three separate projects underway across the state. A USDA Forest Service Landscape Scale Restoration grant is being matched by a group of water utilities and the Savannah River Clean Water Fund to provide funding for outreach and education to the community on the important connection between retaining forestland, properly managing forestland, and good water supplies. Outreach also includes information on conservation easements and cost share programs that help landowners along the Savannah River keep their land in forests and managed well, resulting in watershed protection for all. Priority Georgia counties for the $3.3 million Lower Savannah River Watershed (LSRW) Initiative include portions of Columbia, McDuffie, Warren, Jefferson, Richmond, Burke, Screven, Effingham, and Chatham. In addition, a project in portions of the Oconee River watershed are beginning. For more information about the LSRW initiative, visit http://bit.ly/2CPXKTq, or contact Scott Thackston about any of the projects.


Contact Information

Water Quality Program Staff