2A – Preharvest Planning
- Perform advance planning for forest harvesting that includes the following elements where appropriate:
- Element 1. Identify (a) the area to be harvested including the location of water bodies and sensitive areas such as wetlands, threatened or endangered aquatic species habitat areas, or high-erosion-hazard areas (landslide-prone areas) within the harvest unit; and (b) the hydrologic unit where the project is located and the water bodies that the project is tributary to.
- Element 2. Time the activity for the season or moisture conditions to avoid degradation of water quality and prevent impacts on beneficial uses. Avoid any activities that cause soil disturbance or discharge from road surfaces during wet weather, except emergency maintenance work.
- Element 3. Consider potential water quality impacts and erosion and sedimentation control in the selection of silviculture and regeneration systems, especially for harvesting and site preparation.
- Element 4. Reduce the risk of landslides and severe erosion by identifying high-erosion-hazard areas and avoiding timber operations where they may exacerbate risk.
- Element 5. Consider cumulative effects from timber operations or roads on any known existing water quality impairments or problems in watersheds.
- Perform advance planning for forest road systems that includes the following elements where appropriate:
- Element 1. Locate and design road systems to minimize potential sediment generation and delivery to surface waters. Key activities are (a) locate roads, landings, and skid trails to avoid steep grades and steep or unstable hillslope areas, and to decrease the number of stream crossings; (b) avoid to the extent practicable locating new roads and landings in Streamside Management Areas (SMAs); and (c) determine road usage and select the appropriate road standard.
- Element 2. Locate and design temporary and permanent stream crossings to prevent failure and control impacts from the road system. Key activities are (a) size, design, and site crossing structures to prevent failure and minimize diversion potential; and (b) design crossings to facilitate fish passage in fish-bearing streams.
- Element 3. Ensure that the design of the road prism and the road surface drainage is appropriate to the terrain and that road surface design is consistent with the road drainage structures.
- Element 4. Use suitable materials for surface roads planned for all-weather use to support truck traffic.
- Element 5. Design road systems to avoid high erosion or landslide hazard areas. Identify these areas and consult a qualified specialist for the design of any roads that must be constructed in these areas.
- A Timber Harvest Plan must be prepared and submitted to the regional CDF director before timber is harvested for commercial purposes. A Registered Professional Forester (RPF) usually prepares a THP. The RPF preparing the plan will submit to the Director, with the plan, a Notice of Intent to Harvest Timber (Notice of Intent) under a number of circumstances where the timber harvest could have an effect on neighboring property or downstream water bodies (CDF, 2003, Article 2 and sections 1032-1037 of the California Forest Practice Rules). In addition to a Notice of Intent, a Cumulative Watershed Effects (CWE) analysis is now required as part of THPs in California. In evaluating cumulative impacts, the RPF considers factors such as the watershed(s) in which the site is located; soil productivity; biological, recreational, and visual resources; and traffic. Specific watershed factors to be addressed are sediment, water temperature, organic debris, chemical contamination, and peak flow. The CDF, as lead agency, makes the final determination regarding assessment sufficiency and the presence or absence of significant cumulative impacts. This determination is based on a review of all sources of information provided and developed during review of the THP (CDF, 2003).
- There are numerous factors that should be considered when developing THPs and CWEs, but in general a thorough evaluation of the site should identify areas that require special protection, such as land adjacent to watercourses, steep slopes with high erosion potential, natural springs, wetlands, and areas that could provide habitat for endangered species. Site features to be protected and other considerations for developing THPs and CWEs are outlined in detail in USEPA’s Chapter 3A, Preharvest Planning in National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution From Forestry (USEPA, 2002).
- California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) enforces the laws that regulate logging on privately owned lands in California. These laws are found in the Forest Practice Act, which was enacted in 1973 to ensure that logging was done in a manner that would preserve California’s fish, wildlife, forests, and streams and other water sources forever. The Timber Harvesting Plan (THP) is the blueprint submitted by a landowner to CDF outlining what timber they want to harvest, how it will be harvested, and the steps that will be taken to prevent damage to the environment. CDF reviews and approves THPs.
- California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, CDF’s Role in Timber Harvesting this fact sheet describes CDF’s role in timber harvesting, and the review and approval of Timber Harvest Plans.
- California Forest Practice Act, was enacted in 1973 to ensure that logging was done in a manner that would preserve California’s fish, wildlife, forests, and streams and other water sources forever. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) enforces the laws that regulate logging on privately owned lands in California.
- California Forest Practice Rules (2014) implement the provisions of the Forest Practice Act of 1973. The rules ensure that forestry practices are consistent with environmental quality programs in the State.
- California Licensed Foresters Association has information about contacting professional foresters.
- FishXing Website provides software and learning systems for calculating fish passage through culverts.
- USDA Forest Service’s Roads Analysis Procedure is designed to help national forest managers bring their road systems into balance with current social, economic, and environmental needs (USDA Forest Service, 1999). Roads Analysis uses a six-step procedure with a set of analytical questions to be used in tailoring analysis techniques to individual situations. Roads analysis is primarily a stand-alone procedure, but the conceptual framework and resources for analysis may be readily integrated into any analytical process in which the roads are examined.
CDF. 2003. California Forest Practice Rules. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Resource Management, Forest Practice Program, Sacramento, CA.
USEPA. 2002. National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Forestry. Pre-Final Draft. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Washington, DC.
USDA Forest Service. 1999. Roads Analysis: Informing Decisions About Managing the National Forest Transportation System. Miscellaneous Report FS-643. USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC.