Minnesota's Legacy

Forestry Best Management Practices for Clean Water

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Status
In Progress
Start Date
July 2013
Activity Type
Assessment/Evaluation
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Monitoring
Counties Affected
Fillmore
Goodhue
Wabasha
Winona
Carlton
Houston
Koochiching
Lake of the Woods
Mahnomen
Olmsted
Otter Tail
Pine
Roseau
Stearns
Todd
Wadena
Aitkin
Anoka
Becker
Beltrami
Benton
Cass
Clearwater
Cook
Crow Wing
Hubbard
Isanti
Itasca
Kanabec
Lake
Mille Lacs
Morrison
Sherburne
St. Louis
Fillmore
Goodhue
Wabasha
Winona
Carlton
Houston
Koochiching
Lake of the Woods
Mahnomen
Olmsted
Otter Tail
Pine
Roseau
Stearns
Todd
Wadena
Aitkin
Anoka
Becker
Beltrami
Benton
Cass
Clearwater
Cook
Crow Wing
Hubbard
Isanti
Itasca
Kanabec
Lake
Mille Lacs
Morrison
Sherburne
St. Louis
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017 Regular Session Ch. 91 Art. 2 Sec. 6(g)
Appropriation Language

$675000 the first year and $675000 the second year are for applied research and tools including watershed hydrologic modeling; maintaining and updating spatial data for watershed boundaries streams and water bodies and integrating high-resolution digital elevation data; and assessing effectiveness of forestry best management practices for water quality.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY19 the DNR will complete intensive field monitoring of 93 timber harvest sites in eight targeted watersheds in northern Minnesota. For these eight watersheds during the summer we will oversee monitoring of water quality best management practice (BMP) implementation and implementation of other sustainable forest management guidelines on 93 timber harvest sites. We will continue outreach to landowners managers and loggers. This work will include: 1) site-specific feedback about monitoring results and opportunities to improve the implementation of guidelines and reduce water quality risks; 2) working with DNR Private Forest Management foresters and Soil & Water Conservation Districts to develop strategies for outreach to private landowners in monitored watersheds; and 3) contributing to watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS) and watershed planning. Also in FY19 we will begin overhauling our Guideline Monitoring application. We will also review the past five years of monitoring which has covered the entire forested landscape looking for adverse trends and deliver outreach and training in an attempt to change those trends.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017 Regular Session Ch. 91 Art. 2 Sec. 6(g)
Appropriation Language

$675000 the first year and $675000 the second year are for applied research and tools including watershed hydrologic modeling; maintaining and updating spatial data for watershed boundaries streams and water bodies and integrating high-resolution digital elevation data; and assessing effectiveness of forestry best management practices for water quality.

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
Direct expenses
$170,093
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.1
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY18 the DNR will complete intensive field monitoring of 98 timber harvest sites in nine targeted watersheds in northern Minnesota. We will also analyze the distribution of timber harvest and forest change on forest land in eight northern Minnesota watersheds. For these eight watersheds during the summer we will oversee monitoring of water quality best management practice (BMP) implementation and implementation of other sustainable forest management guideline on 80 to 100 timber harvest sites.

We will continue activities to reach out to forest landowners managers and loggers including:
- Site-specific feedback about monitoring results and opportunities to improve the implementation of guidelines and reduce water quality risks.
- Working with DNR Private Forest Management foresters and Soil & Water Conservation Districts to develop strategies for outreach to small private landowners in monitored watersheds.
- Contributing to developing strategies for the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies process in forested watersheds.

In February we will submit our biennial Guideline Implementation Monitoring Report to the MN Forest Resource Council (MFRC). The report will summarize results from implementation monitoring on 169 sites in 19 watersheds during the summer and fall of FY16 and FY17. DNR and MFRC staff will use this information to continue identifying water quality risk factors and developing strategies to reduce risks in targeted watersheds.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY18 the DNR completed intensive field monitoring of 98 timber harvest sites in nine targeted watersheds in northern Minnesota and began monitoring water quality best management practice (BMP) implementation and implementation of other sustainable forest management guidelines on 93 timber harvest sites in northern Minnesota. In February 2018 we submitted our biennial Guideline Implementation Monitoring Report to the MN Forest Resource Council (MFRC). The report summarized results from implementation monitoring of 169 sites in 19 watersheds during the summer and fall of FY16 and FY17. DNR and MFRC staff use this information to continue identifying water quality risk factors and developing strategies to reduce risks in targeted watersheds and presented this information at several venues in FY18. They also shared results with landowners and land managers whose sites were monitored and helped them identify opportunities to better implement guidelines and reduce water quality risks. DNR Private Forest Management Foresters helped us connect with private land owners to improve access for monitoring private forest lands and pave the way for future workshops to improve the implementation of guidelines and water quality BMPs.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015 First Special Session Ch. 2 Art. 2 Sec. 6(g)
Appropriation Language

(g) $675000 the first year and $675000the second year are for applied research and tools including watershed hydrologic modeling; maintaining and updating spatial data for watershed boundaries streams and water bodies and integrating high-resolution digital elevation data; assessing effectiveness of forestry best management practices for water quality; and developing a biomonitoring database.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
Direct expenses
$186,321
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.9
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY17 the DNR will complete intensive field monitoring of 80 timber harvest sites in 12 targeted watersheds in central and southeastern Minnesota. We will analyze the distribution of timber harvest and forest change on forestland in 38 forested watersheds across the state in order to select 10 watersheds for additional intensive monitoring of timber harvest sites. For these 10 watersheds we will execute a contract to begin monitoring the implementation of water quality best management practices (BMPs) and other sustainable forest management guidelines on 80 to 100 timber harvest sites.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY17 the DNR completed intensive field monitoring of 80 timber harvest sites in 12 targeted watersheds in central and southeastern Minnesota and identified 100 additional timber harvest sites in nine forested watersheds for intensive monitoring to be completed in FY18. We also analyzed the distribution of timber harvest and forest change on 38 selected major watersheds in northern Minnesota while developing focused information on nine target watersheds. The resulting information documents how well water quality best management practices (BMPs) and other sustainable forest management guidelines have been implemented.
Staff also continued using this information to identify water quality risk factors and develop strategies to reduce risks in targeted watersheds. They presented this information at several venues. They also shared results with landowners and land managers whose sites were monitored and helped them identify opportunities to better implement guidelines and reduce water quality risks.
Staff utilized the DNR’s Private Forest Management Foresters to better connect with small private land owners to improve access to monitoring private forest lands and to pave the way for future workshops addressing ways to improve the implementation of guidelines and water quality BMPs.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015 First Special Session Ch. 2 Art. 2 Sec. 6(g)
Appropriation Language

(g) $675000 the first year and $675000the second year are for applied research and tools including watershed hydrologic modeling; maintaining and updating spatial data for watershed boundaries streams and water bodies and integrating high-resolution digital elevation data; assessing effectiveness of forestry best management practices for water quality; and developing a biomonitoring database.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
Direct expenses
$217,597
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.9
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY16 the DNR will identify the distribution of timber harvest and forest change on 12 selected HUC8 watershed units (see below). The DNR will check logging sites to make sure sustainable forest management guidelines and water quality BMPs are properly carried out. We will look at specific watershed characteristics to identify water quality risk factors on the selected areas and we will develop strategies to reduce risks in the targeted watersheds.

We will continue and further develop outreach to forest landowners managers and loggers to implement strategies including:
-A comprehensive report on sustainable forest management guideline implementation
-Continued site-specific feedback to land owners/managers and loggers of sites monitored during summer of 2014 and 2015. Feedback will address results of site monitoring and identification of opportunities for improvement of guideline implementation and water quality risk reduction
-Work with the recently rebuilt Cooperative Forest Management Program to better connect with small private forest land owners
-Continued interaction and contribution to Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies
Work with the Minnesota Forest Recourses Council (MFRC) Region Landscape Planning program to address the risk factors that were identified in the watershed analyses and to improve how BMPs are carried out.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY16 the DNR completed intensive field monitoring on 79 timber harvest sites in seven northern Minnesota watersheds and identified 80 additional timber harvest sites in 12 central and southeastern Minnesota watersheds for intensive monitoring to be done in FY17. The resulting information documents how well water quality best management practices (BMPs) and other sustainable forest management guidelines have been implemented.

Staff completed a comprehensive report on sites monitored in calendar years 2014 and 2015 available at http://mn.gov/frc/site-level-forest-management-reports.html. Staff continued to use information from these reports to identify water quality risk factors and develop strategies to reduce risks in targeted watersheds. They presented this information at several venues. They shared results with landowners and land managers whose sites were monitored and helped them identify opportunities to better implement guidelines and reduce water quality risks.

DNR Cooperative Forest Management foresters collaborated with Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) to better connect with small private landowners in targeted watersheds improving access to monitoring sites and paving the way for workshops on improved implementation of guidelines. Staff worked with the Minnesota Logger Education Program to develop this type of workshop for logging professionals. Staff collaborated with the Minnesota Forest Resources Council on strategies for outreach and education to improve implementation of guidelines and aid the development of regional landscape plans. Finally staff continued to contribute information from reports to the development of Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS).

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013 Ch. 137 Art. 2 Sec. 6(g)
Appropriation Language

$675000 the first year and $675000
the second year are for applied research
and tools including watershed hydrologic
modeling; maintaining and updating spatial
data for watershed boundaries streams and
water bodies and integrating high-resolution
digital elevation data; assessing effectiveness
of forestry best management practices for
water quality; and developing an ecological
monitoring database.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
Direct expenses
$171,589
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
1.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY 15 the DNR will detect where timber harvest and other forest changes took place on all forested watersheds statewide. We will monitor the implementation of sustainable forest management guidelines and water quality BMPs on timber harvest sites across the four watersheds selected in FY14 and an additional seven selected in FY15. The combined information along with specific watershed characteristics will be used to identify water quality risk factors (based on timber harvesting frequency and distribution level of BMP implementation and additional watershed characteristics) within target watersheds for FY14 &15. We will develop strategies to reduce risks in the targeted watersheds.

We will develop outreach programs geared toward implementing those strategies for forest landowners managers and loggers. These programs will include: 1) workshops addressing erosion control on forest access roads and timber harvesting sites; 2) feedback to land managers and loggers of sites monitored in FY14 (results of site monitoring and identifying opportunities for improvement) 3) a BMP field manual for loggers and land managers.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY 15 the DNR identified that forests were disturbed in a total of 38 watersheds (HUC 8) and 27 counties in Minnesota. We selected 80 harvest sites in a subset of seven watersheds for monitoring the implementation of sustainable forest management guidelines and water quality BMPs.* We hired contractors to collect monitoring data which we will analyze in FY16.

We also completed field monitoring at an additional 59 sites that were started in FY2014 sites in the Mississippi Headwaters Rum River Lake Superior South and Lake Superior North watersheds. We synthesized data for these sites and evaluated them for guideline compliance. We presented the information to various groups (see below). The final report will be done in February of 2016.

In collaboration with the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Logger Education Program we conducted two workshops addressing erosion control on forest access roads and timber harvesting sites in fall/winter of 2014. We also made several presentations to disseminate Guideline Monitoring results including talking to land managers at the monitoring sites in an ongoing process providing feedback. We also helped develop a BMP field manual for loggers and land managers.

We evaluated forest disturbance/change between the years 2000 to 2015 on all forested watersheds in Minnesota. We looked at specific watershed characteristics to identify water quality risk factors including: proximity of forest disturbances to water features roads and road crossings; soil drainage type texture and erodibility; current and past land cover and land use change; and topographic characteristics (slope flow direction and accumulation). We used these data layers along with several from the DNR’s Watershed Health Assessment Framework to create a preliminary risk index.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013 Ch. 137 Art. 2 Sec. 6(g)
Appropriation Language

$675000 the first year and $675000
the second year are for applied research
and tools including watershed hydrologic
modeling; maintaining and updating spatial
data for watershed boundaries streams and
water bodies and integrating high-resolution
digital elevation data; assessing effectiveness
of forestry best management practices for
water quality; and developing an ecological
monitoring database.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$250,000
Direct expenses
$41,296
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.1
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY 14 DNR will monitor the implementation of sustainable forest management guidelines and water quality BMPs on 80 – 100 timber harvest sites across 4 forested watersheds. Distribution of timber harvest and other forest changes will also be identified in these watersheds. The combined information along with specific watershed characteristics will be used to identify water quality risk factors within target watersheds and strategies to reduce those risks. Outreach programs will then be developed to work with forest landowners managers and loggers to implement strategies.

Specific outcomes include:
-Establishment of a protocol for identifying forest change at the watershed level that can also be applied statewide.
-Identify the distribution of timber harvest and forest change in four watersheds including Mississippi Headwaters Rum River North Lake Superior and South Lake Superior.
-Monitor the implementation of forest management guidelines and water quality BMPs through on-site investigation on a total of 80-100 sites across these 4 watersheds.
-Progress in development of a protocol for identifying level of risk to water quality due to timber harvesting frequency and distribution level of BMP implementation and additional watershed characteristics
Outreach programs based on above data will be developed in FY15.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY14 DNR foresters identified the distribution of timber harvest and forest change in four watersheds: Mississippi Headwaters Rum River Lake Superior South and Lake Superior North. DNR established a protocol for identifying forest change at the watershed level; this protocol will be refined to better differentiate among various forest change types. For example some partial harvesting is difficult to distinguish from wind damage. Also time sequence is required to detect difference between forest harvesting and some land conversions such as pasturing.

In the four target watersheds foresters monitored 34 sites for implementation of forest management guidelines and water quality best management practices. About 1/3 of the sites planned for monitoring in FY14 were completed; the remainder will be completed by Sept 31 2014. Contract work was delayed due to length of time required to get contract approvals.

DNR is also developing a protocol for identifying level of risk to water quality due to timber harvesting frequency and distribution level of BMP implementation and additional watershed characteristics. The primary progress on this task was hiring a Research Analysis Specialist whose responsibilities will be focused development of this protocol. The hiring process was completed in early FY15 and significant progress will be made on this protocol in the coming year.

Outreach development in FY14 included curriculum and video development for erosion control workshops to be held in the fall of 2014 and help creating a user-friendly field guide focused on forestry water quality BMPs which will be completed in FY15.

Project Overview

The Minnesota DNR and the Minnesota Forest Resources Council work with forest landowners, managers and loggers to implement a set of voluntary sustainable forest management guidelines that include water quality best management practices (BMPs) to ensure sustainable habitat, clean water, and productive forest soils, all contributing to healthy watersheds. This project will monitor the implementation of these forest management guidelines and BMPs on forested watersheds in MN. Additionally, this project will identify timber harvest frequency and distribution as well as significant change to forest area including conversion of forests to other land uses, large fires, and blowdown events. An evaluation of the guideline implementation rates, watershed characteristics, and the frequency and distribution of forest change will be used to identify risks to water quality as well as strategies to reduce these risks, with the goal of maintaining high quality forested watersheds in MN. Outreach programs will be developed for forest landowners, managers and loggers throughout the target watersheds aimed at mitigating these risks such as improved implementation of specific BMPs.

About the Issue

Forested watersheds in MN generally produce an abundance of high quality water. Much of our forested landscape is managed as productive forest land providing timber products as well recreational opportunities and abundant wildlife. Sustainable timber harvesting in combination with application of voluntary water quality BMP’s has helped to maintain water quality in Minnesota’s managed forest lands. However, risks to water quality in these landscapes still remain, with rates of BMP implementation, harvesting patterns, and watershed characteristics influencing the potential for impacts to occur at any given time or place. Also, recent trends in forestland development and loss in Minnesota has increased the risk of impacts to water quality in forested landscapes. Evaluation of BMP implementation and quantification of risk factors by watershed, combined with effective outreach programs, will allow for continued utilization of working forests while maintaining functioning, healthy watersheds that produce clean water.

Project Manager
First Name
Dick
Last Name
Rossman
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Street Address
3296 State Park Road NE
City
Bemidji
State
MN
Zip Code
56601
Phone
(218) 308-2371
Email
dick.rossman@state.mn.us