2K – Postharvest Evaluation

Management Measure

Conduct post-operation evaluation of the effectiveness of the State’s forest practices requirements as implemented. The components of this are (a) implementation monitoring to determine whether the operation was conducted according to specifications, and (b) effectiveness monitoring after at least one winter period to determine whether the specified operation prevented or minimized discharges.

Management Practices

  • Timber harvest plan
    Post-harvest evaluations of forest practices should be incorporated into the timber harvest plan (THP) if proposed timber operations have the potential to degrade drinking water supplies, lakes, or streams. Under the California Forest Practice Rules, the CDF may require a postharvest evaluation of the effectiveness of the mitigations and practices designed to protect the domestic water supply as a condition of THP approval. Problems to be identified include potential land failures, accelerated rate of road construction or harvesting within a watershed, or a concentration or intensity of harvesting activity near streams or springs (CDF, 2003). Where timber operations will be conducted within a Watercourse and Lake Protection Zone (WLPZ), the CDF may also require a postharvest evaluation of the effectiveness of the mitigation measures and practices designed to protect the water quality as a condition of THP approval.
  • Monitoring program
    One should define the goals and objectives, or purpose, of the monitoring program. Detailed monitoring program objectives enable the designer of the program to define precisely which data will be gathered to meet the management goals and determine when management has failed or been successful. Postharvest evaluations can review the timber operator’s procedures for effectiveness and implementation monitoring or existing landowner monitoring programs, or use photographic monitoring techniques. A review of scientific and technical literature pertaining to water quality studies previously conducted in the region will help to determine whether existing data provide sufficient information to address the monitoring goals and to identify data gaps.
  • Implementation assessments
    It is helpful to identify project constraints such as funding, staffing, equipment, time, and effort necessary to complete postharvest evaluations. The duration of monitoring and the geographic scale needed to achieve monitoring goals should be determined. Implementation assessments can be done on several scales. Site-specific assessments can be used to assess individual management practices or management measures, while watershed assessments can be used to look at the cumulative effects of implementing multiple management measures. Determination should be made as to which management measures should be evaluated, and a baseline should be established from which decisions can be made regarding the need for additional incentives for implementation of management measures. A team of experts should be assembled to perform postharvest monitoring. Teams should include a state forester who is familiar with management practice standards for both implementation and effectiveness. Where possible, the survey team should be accompanied by the landowner on whose property the survey is being conducted, the logger who conducted the harvest, and the state forester who prepared the harvest plan, if applicable. Other experts could be specialists in fields such as watershed science, soil science, wildlife biology, hydrology, fishery management, or road engineering. Separate organizations might also be represented, such as environmental organizations or representatives of the timber industry. If feasible, audits should be conducted soon after harvests are completed so that improvements can be made to management practices found to be inadequately implemented and to minimize the water quality impacts of those practices.
  • Preharvest notification system
    A preharvest notification system should be established to assist in selecting an adequate and unbiased sampling population of harvest sites, to reduce the cost of site selection, and to help determine, prior to a site visit, that selected sites meet many of the selection criteria such as time since harvest and size of harvest. Harvest sites need to be chosen randomly. Stratification based on desired characteristics of sites is perfectly acceptable, but if this is done, sampling within the strata must be random to ensure the validity of results.
  • QA/QC
    Quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) procedures should be implemented to ensure the accuracy of all analytical measurements made in postharvest evaluations. QA/QC procedures are cost-effective measures used to determine how to allocate project energies and resources toward improving the quality of research and the legal sufficiency of project results.
  • Critical watersheds
    If the geographic extent of an audit includes a critical watershed, a separate statistically valid sample population should be created for the watershed and information from harvests within the watershed should not be grouped with information from other harvests. It is important to maintain separate information for watersheds that have been designated "critical" and to sample them separately if the information obtained is to be related to and useful for programs instituted to protect the watersheds.


  • California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Resource Management Program maintains the sustainability of California’s natural resources by administering State and federal forestry assistance programs for landowners, demonstrating sound management practices on eight demonstration State forests, enforcing the California Forest Practice Act on all nonfederal timberlands, providing research and educational outreach to the public on forest pests such as Sudden Oak Death, and coordinating efforts for fuel reduction to reduce the risk of fire and improve the quality of California’s ecosystems. CDF’s mission emphasizes the management and protection of California’s natural resources.

Information Resources

  • Techniques for Tracking, Evaluating, and Reporting the Implementation of Nonpoint Source Control Measures–Forestry contains information on sampling design, approaches to conducting the evaluation, data analysis techniques, and ways to present evaluation results are described in this manual.
  • USEPA, Appendix A in Monitoring Guidance for Determining the Effectiveness of Nonpoint Source Controls presents a review of more than 40 monitoring guidance manuals for both point and NPS pollution. These guidance manuals discuss virtually every aspect of NPS pollution monitoring, including monitoring program design and objectives, sample types and sampling methods, chemical and physical water quality variables, biological monitoring, data analysis and management, and quality assurance and quality control (USEPA, 2002). This document is available through the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (Telephone: 800-490-9198).
  • World Wildlife Fund and World Bank, Running Pure report provides insight on the benefits to urban populations of well-managed natural forests in terms of high quality drinking water.


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.

NPS Encyclopedia Site Map