What Are Best Management Practices (BMP)?

Best Management Practices can be defined as a method by which state or local governments can find ways to prevent or reduce pollution, that is derived by non-point sources such as watersheds, "to a level compatible with water quality goals" as stated under EPA regulations section 40 CFR 130.2(Q).

The EPA has established eight categories describing how to protect water quality by specific forestry measures. They are: (1) pre-harvest planning; (2) streamside management; (3) forest wetlands protection; (4) road construction and maintenance; (5) timber harvesting; (6) re-vegetation; (7) fire management; and (8) forest chemical management.

Considering there are well over 700 million acres of land in the U.S., concerns about how the "watershed" effect can easily pollute our waters has come to the forefront in finding new ways to prevent pollution through the use of BMP.

In an effort to understand how Best Management Practices can be effectively utilized in the aforementioned categories as established by the EPA, here are the regulations as defined by the Clean Water Act under section 232.3c(6)(i-xv): "Construction or maintenance of farm roads, forest roads, or temporary roads for moving mining equipment, where such roads are constructed and maintained in accordance with best management practices to assure that flow and circulation patterns and chemical and biological characteristics of waters of the United States are not impaired, that the reach of the waters of the United States is not reduced, and that any adverse effect on the aquatic environment will be otherwise minimized. The BMPs which must be applied to satisfy this provision include the following baseline provisions:

  1. Permanent roads (for farming or forestry activities), temporary access roads (for mining, forestry, or farm purposes) and skid trails (for logging) in waters of the US shall be held to the minimum feasible number, width, and total length consistent with the purpose of specific farming, cultural or mining operations, and local topographic and climatic conditions;
  2. All roads, temporary or permanent, shall be located sufficiently far from streams or other water bodies (except for portions of such roads which must cross water bodies) to minimize discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the US;
  3. The road fill shall be bridged, have a culvert, or otherwise designed to prevent the restriction of expected flood flows;
  4. The fill shall be properly stabilized and maintained to prevent erosion during the following construction:
  5. Discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the US to construct a road fill shall be made in a manner that minimizes the encroachment of trucks, tractors, bulldozers, or other heavy equipment within the waters of the US (including adjacent wetlands) that lie outside the lateral boundaries of the fill itself:
  6. In designing, constructing, and maintaining roads, vegetative disturbance in the waters of the US shall be kept to a minimum;
  7. The design, construction, and maintenance of the road crossing shall not disrupt the migration or other movement of those species of aquatic life inhabiting the water body;
  8. Borrow material shall be taken from upland sources whenever feasible;
  9. The discharge shall not take or jeopardize the continued existence of a threatened or endangered species as defined under the Endangered Species Act or adversely modify or destroy the critical habitat of such species;
  10. Discharges into breeding and nesting areas for migratory waterfowl, spawning areas, and wetlands shall be avoided if practical alternatives exist;
  11. The discharge shall not be located in the proximity of a public water supply intake;
  12. The discharge shall not occur in areas of concentrated shellfish production;
  13. The discharge shall not occur in a component of the National Wild and Scenic River System;
  14. The discharge of material shall consist of suitable material free from toxic pollutants in toxic amounts; and
  15. All temporary fills shall be removed in their entirety and the area restored to its original elevation."

Products that can help you (BMP's) Best Management Practice are spill kits, spill containment berms, absorbent booms and stormwater products.

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