Updated Rules for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Jobs

Montpelier -- An improved set of practices designed to protect water quality on logging jobs goes into effect as a revised rule tomorrow, October 22. The Acceptable Management Practices for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Jobs in Vermont, or AMPs, are a set of practices designed to protect water quality by minimizing soil erosion and runoff during and after logging activity.

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation revised the AMP rule as a requirement of Act 64, an act passed in 2015 to improve the quality of State waters. The final AMPs are a result of significant public input and numerous discussions with foresters, landowners, loggers, environmental groups and other departments within the Agency of Natural Resources. It will apply to all logging operations on public and private lands in Vermont regardless of the purpose of the logging.

The AMPs were originally adopted in 1987 and have been in effect for nearly 30 years. The revised rule clarifies how landowners and loggers should protect Vermont’s waters during logging, and creates room for more flexible interpretation, more effective implementation, and improved access to environmental enforcement when necessary. When the practices are implemented, landowners and loggers also satisfy legal requirements under the State Water Pollution Control statutes and the Vermont Water Quality Standards.

A landowner or logger who chooses not to implement AMPs may be subject to enforcement action and significant penalties if state waters are negatively affected by a logging operation. 

“The AMPs will continue to be an important tool for loggers and landowners to protect water quality and soil health,” said Forests, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder. “We are currently preparing workshops and guidance material to get this information into the hands of practitioners.”

Forests play a critical role in filtering and protecting water for drinking, recreation, and aquatic habitat, and mitigating flood impacts by absorbing heavy rains. The management of forests also provides a critical economic foundation for Vermont, contributing nearly $1.5 billion and 10,500 jobs to the State’s economy each year.

“The implementation of the AMPs plays a major role in ensuring that these ecologic and economic benefits are compatible and sustained,” said Snyder.

The revised rule is available at: http://fpr.vermont.gov/forests/amp_proposed_rule_change

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