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ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS & PERMITTING

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[ PACD ]   -   [ TIMBER HARVESTING FIELD GUIDE ]   -   [ PA INTEGRATED REPORT ]   -   [ CHAPTER 102 REGS ]   -   [ CHAPTER 105 PERMITS ]
 

Timber harvesting operations conducted within Pennsylvania are regulated to minimize their impacts on soil and water resources and must be undertaken in accordance with Chapters 93, 102 and 105 of Pennsylvania's Title 25 Environmental Protection code (under the authority of the Clean Streams Law and enforced by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection) and the Federal Clean Water Act (enforced under the joint authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers).

Furthermore, harvesting operations that involve stream and wetland crossings or other impacts may be required to obtain permits from the State or the Army Corps of Engineers. This section outlines these regulations and permit requirements and provides resources for complying.


  PENNSYLVANIA CONSERVATION DISTRICTS

Pennsylvania has 66 county conservation districts, one in every PA county except Philadelphia. Each Conservation District is led by a Board of Directors made up of local people from all walks of life. Conservation districts implement a variety of programs, and provide assistance for a range of issues unique to their county. Conservation district staff can help Pennsylvania's Professional Timber Harvesters comply with the state's erosion and sedimentation regulations as well as stream crossing permitting requirements. They are also very knowledgeable on Best Management Practices (BMPs). Contact your local conservation district whenever you have a question or need assistance.

Contact your local Conservation District

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts

Summary of Conservation District Delegated Authority [What does this mean?]

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  TIMBER HARVEST OPERATIONS FIELD GUIDE

The Timber Harvest Operations Field Guide for Waterway’s Wetlands and Erosion Control (3150-BK-DEP4016) summarizes Erosion and Sedimentation (E&S) Best Management Practices (BMPs) and the laws related to their planning, use, maintenance, and retirement, as well as identifying permitting requirements related to stream crossings and encroachments. It provides guidance to foresters, loggers, land managers, woodland owners, and natural resource professionals in preparing and implementing soil erosion and sediment control plans, and to work around streams and wetlands.

PA SFI Timber Harvesting Assessment Form

DEP Fact Sheet: Minimizing Accelerated Soil Erosion and Sediment Pollution

DEP Regional Offices

 

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  PENNSYLVANIA INTEGRATED REPORT

The Pennsylvania Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report [Integrated Report - 305(b) and 303(d)] is a biennial report prepared by the Pennsylvania DEP that assesses the quality of waters in Pennsylvania and identifies waters throughout the state that are impaired for various reasons. The integrated report demonstrates the effectiveness of state forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) taught by PA SFI and the overall negligible negative impact that timber harvesting has on water quality.

Only a small fraction of a percentage of the state's impaired stream miles are attributed to forestry activities. Only 19 miles are attributed to silviculture and 2 miles are attributed to forest roads. Of the 35 contributing sources tracked by DEP, silviculture ranks 29th and logging roads rank in the bottom 3. Compare this to agriculture and mine drainage which top the list and contribute over half of the total impaired miles across the state. Even “Natural Sources” are listed as the cause of impairment for more miles than silviculture and forest roads combined.

BMPs are working to protect Pennsylvania’s water resources, and it is a testament to the vigilant efforts of timber harvesting professionals and landowners across Pennsylvania that are implementing these practices.

PA DEP Integrated Water Quality Report

PA SFI Summary of the 2008 through 2016 reports

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PA CODE: CHAPTER 102 REGULATIONS AND PERMITS

Chapter 102 requires persons proposing or conducting earth disturbance activities to develop, implement, and maintain Best Management Practices (BMPs) to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation in order to protect the water resources of the Commonwealth. Timber harvesting is considered an earth disturbance activity because it disturbs the forest floor and exposes soil to accelerated erosion.

As a result, implementation and maintenance of forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) in Pennsylvania is required by law [PA Code Title 25 § 102.4(a)(1)].

Pennsylvania Code: Chapter 102. Erosion and Sediment Control

What Chapter 102 Regulations Apply to My Operation?

Timber harvesting operations that will disturb 5,000 square feet or more of earth (~0.11 acres - which encompasses most harvesting operations), or that occur in special protection watersheds (streams classified as High Quality - HQ, or Exceptional Value - EV under Chapter 93 of PA Code) are required to develop a written Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan (E&S Plan) that outlines the nature of the operation, the BMPs that will be used to prevent erosion and sedimentation, and a plan for how those BMPs will be maintained. The plan is required to be on site at all times during the operation.

Timber harvesting or road maintenance operations involving 25 acres or more of earth disturbance (total area of haul roads, landings, and skid trails) are required to obtain an erosion and sediment control permit.

Erosion and Sediment Control Permit Forms [See FORMS for additional details]

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PA CODE: CHAPTER 105 PERMITS

Activities associated with timber harvesting operations are governed by DEP's Chapter 105 Dam Safety and Waterway Management Regulations. Chapter 105 regulations govern the crossing of streams; construction of culverts, fords, and bridges, and other impacts to water courses and wetlands that occur during man-made activities.

Pennsylvania Code: Chapter 105. Dam Safety and Waterway Management

In most cases, a permit is required before starting any activity which changes, expands or diminishes the course, current or cross-section of a stream, floodway or body of water. This means that most types of excavation in, along, or across a stream, even if the excavated material is put back after the work, will usually require some kind of Chapter 105 permit or authorization.

What Chapter 105 Permits Apply to My Operation?

Forest management operations are also subject to the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) when operating in a federally jurisdictional wetland, or crossing any “waters of the US” including streams, sloughs, marshes or bogs. However, in most cases Pennsylvania regulations are more strict and therefore supescede Federal regulations. Click here for a useful guide on Clean Water Act permit requirements.

Additional Resources for Completing General Permits:

An online GIS-based method for determining upstream drainage area is available through the USGS StreamStats Interactive Map. Navigate to the location of your operation, Use the "Watershed Delineation from a Point" tool (button with black dot and crosshairs at top of the screen), and click on the location of your stream crossing (note: you must be zoomed out to at least 1:24000). Once the basin is delineated click on the "basin Characteristics" icon and select "Compute Parameters" from popup window. Area will be given in square miles - Divide by 640 to determine the basin size in acres.

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