Wisconsin Council on Forestry supports Silviculture Exemption Consistency Act

The Wisconsin Council on Forestry sent letters to the Wisconsin’s congressional delegation in support of pending federal legislation entitled, the Silviculture Exemption Consistency Act (HR2541 and SB1369), which would continue the existing policy that forestry operations are non-point source pollution and that forestry best management practices are an appropriate policy tool for protecting water quality (WI BMPs).

The text of the letter follows. In full disclosure, I am a member of the Council and took an active role in preparing this letter.

The Wisconsin Council on Forestry is asking you to support the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act (HR2541 &S1369) to ensure Wisconsin’s tradition of sustainable forestry and clean water. This proposed legislation, if passed, would continue Wisconsin’s leadership in providing over 56,500 green jobs that contribute $18 billion in economic impact.

Wisconsin’s experiences with forestry Best Management Practices (“BMPs”) to protect water quality are overwhelmingly positive. To comply with the original provisions of the Clean Water Act, Wisconsin, like other states, developed BMPs for water quality intended to minimize and mitigate the potential effects of forestry practices (e.g., timber harvesting, road building, etc.). Professional foresters and loggers, landowners, and the Department of Natural Resources view this approach as successful public policy and are strongly committed to ensuring that forestry BMPs protect water quality.

Although they are voluntary, BMPs for water quality are strictly adhered to as an integral part of forestry activities. Moreover, they are proven to bean effective, efficient, and appropriately-scaled environmental protection approach. BMP monitoring efforts find that forestry BMPs for water quality are implemented correctly over 90% of the time on Wisconsin’s private and public lands. Data further indicate that when applied correctly, BMPs protect water quality over 99% percent of the time.

Lastly, voluntary BMPs are part of a tiered approach that safeguards Wisconsin’s water quality. As forestry activities get closer to bodies of water, BMPs become more protective. Indeed, when forestry activities cross streams, greater oversight is required to include plans, permits, and inspections. As such, regulation is targeted to those situations when water quality is most at risk.

The Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act would codify existing policy (i.e., forestry activities are non-point sources of pollution) and bring consistency to loggers, landowners, and foresters in planning and conducting sustainable forestry practices. For Wisconsin, this Act is the right move to ensure that our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands are protected, while allowing sustainable forestry, and the economic sectors it supports, to continue.

If you have any questions about our support, Wisconsin’s Forestry BMPs for Water Quality, or sustainable forestry, please do contact our State Forester Paul DeLong (contact info excluded).

Sincerely,

SIGNED

Henry Schienebeck, Chair

The Wisconsin Council on Forestry is a diverse group of leaders in the forestry community who direct Wisconsin’s efforts to achieve sustainable forestry. It is a statutory body appointed by the Governor.

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