Private Forest Land

Overview

For private timberlands, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is the lead agency responsible for regulating timber harvesting under the California Forest Practice Rules (FPRs). The State Water Board, State Board of Forestry, and CAL FIRE entered into a Management Agency Agreement (MAA) in 1988 for overseeing water quality protection on Timber Harvest Plan (THPs). Under the MAA, the Regional Water Board is a responsible agency and plays an advisory role.  Since 2003, the Regional Water Board has been regulating discharges of waste from timber harvesting under their own authority through Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs) and Waivers of WDRs (Waivers).

The FPRs require the submission and approval of a timber plan (THP) prior to starting most timber operations. Once a THP is submitted to CAL FIRE, Regional Water Board staff review the plan as a "Review Team" member, along with the Department of Fish and Game, California Geological Survey, and CAL FIRE.  The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) has two roles in the review of timber harvest plans, Non-industrial Timber Management Plans (NTMPs), and other commercial timber harvest projects on private lands:

  1. The Regional Water Board issues permit coverage to the plans approved by CAL FIRE through Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs) and Waivers of WDRs (Waiver), which establish conditions or requirements to control discharges of waste to waters of the State in compliance with the Basin Plan and other water quality requirements.
  2. As a member of the CAL FIRE Review Team, Regional Water Board staff triage plans for those that pose the greatest threat to water quality and: 1) conduct a review of harvest plans and submits questions, 2) participate in a pre-harvest inspection and submit comments and recommendations, and 3) participate in a final plan review, all to help to protect water quality and to avoid violations of Regional Water Board regulations.

Regional Water Board staff may also participates in the following activities to protect the beneficial uses of water and regulate timber harvest activities: attend active and post-harvest inspections of approved plans; review Habitat Conservation Plans and Sustained Yield Plans; perform and review watershed analyses; participate in meetings of the Board of Forestry and CAL FIRE; take enforcement actions and investigate complaints; assess conversions of timber lands to other land uses; and participate in TMDL development and implementation.

Permitting

The Regional Water Board has developed several permits for regulating the discharge of waste associated with forest management activities on private land.  These include Waste Discharge Requirements, Waivers of Waste Discharge Requirements, watershed-wide WDRs, and two ownership WDRs.

  • R1-2004-0030, General Waste Discharge Requirements For Discharges Related to Timber Harvest Activities On Non-Federal Lands in the North Coast Region.

  • R1-2014-0011, Categorical Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges Related to Timber Harvest Activities On Non‐Federal Lands in the North Coast Region.

  • R1-2013-0005, General Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges for Timber Operations on Non‐Industrial Timber Management Plans (NTMP) in the North Coast Region.

  • R1-2012-0087, Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges Related to Green Diamond Resource Company’s Forest Management Activities Conducted Within the Area Covered by its Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan in the North Coast Region.

  • R1-2010-0044, Waste Discharge Requirements For Discharges Related to Road Management and Maintenance Activities Conducted Pursuant to the Green Diamond Resource Company Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan in the North Coast Region.
    • Ownership WDRs for Green Diamond to cover road management and maintenance activities conducted within the area of their AHCP.

  • R1-2014-0036, Waste Discharge Requirements For Discharges Related to Timber Harvesting and Related Land Management Activities Conducted by Humboldt Redwood Company, LLC In the Jordan Creek Watershed Humboldt County and Monitoring and Reporting Program.

  • R1-2011-0100, Waste Discharge Requirements For Discharges Related to Timber Harvesting and Related Land Management Activities Conducted by Humboldt Redwood Company, LLC In the Bear Creek Watershed Humboldt County and Monitoring and Reporting Program.

  • R1-2016-0004, Waste Discharge Requirements For Nonpoint Source Discharges and Other Controllable Water Quality Factors Related to Timber Harvesting and Associated Activities Conducted by Humboldt Redwood Company, LLC In the Upper Elk River Watershed Humboldt County.
    • Watershed WDRs for the Humboldt Redwood Company to cover timber harvest activities in the Elk River watershed.

  • Proposed Order No. R1-2019-0021  Revised waste discharge requirements for nonpoint source discharges and other controllable water quality factors related to timber harvesting and associated activities conducted by Humboldt Redwood Company in the Upper Elk River watershed

  • R1-2006-0041, Watershed-wide Waste Discharge Requirements for Timber Harvesting Plan Activities Conducted by Humboldt Redwood Company, LLC in the Freshwater Creek Watershed and Monitoring and Reporting Program