Grant – Virginia Techsfiprogram2020-07-31T07:17:08-04:00
Measuring and Improving the Water Quality Benefits of Sustainable Forest Management Across the Southeastern U.S.
Monitoring and Quantifying the Effects of State Forestry BMP Programs on Soil Erosion and Sediment Delivery for the Southeastern US
Why this project matters
This collaborative project, led by Virginia Tech, will comprehensively compare and contrast the implementation and effectiveness of the 13 Southeastern states’ forestry best management practices (BMPs) for water quality. This will require monitoring sediment delivery ratios, erosion rates, and BMP‑implementation scores across multiple regions. Findings will allow state forestry organizations and other stakeholders to quantify sediment protection provided by state BMP programs and highlight the sustainability of forest management.
How the project helps enhance best management practices for water quality
Sediment is the largest stream water pollutant from forest management in the southeastern U.S.
Currently, relationships between actual soil erosion and sediment delivery are poorly understood. This comprehensive multiregional and multi-sponsor study will collect, analyze, and interpret data using seven major objectives, including:
Estimating sediment-delivery ratios (i.e., soil eroded and the amount of sediment deposited into streams) by forest region and forest operation
Quantifying the relationships between BMP implementation percentages and sediment delivery and/or soil erosion
Estimating the impact that state and regional BMP programs have had on sediment reduction
This program features strong partnerships and an ambitious scope that is poised to deliver a major contribution to SFI’s Conservation Impact Project work around water values. The goal of 10 peer‑reviewed studies adds considerable credibility to this work and provides a base for broad communications among less‑technical audiences. Results will also be delivered on the ground through logger training programs and professional conferences. The collaboration across multiple states represented by this project will advance both understanding and the ability of researchers and practitioners to compare and quantify the efficacy of BMP implementation across broad geographies and disparate ownerships.
How the project helps forest managers
This project directly relates to the SFI priority area of quantifying the impact of SFI Program Participant activities relative to improving stream habitat and/or water quality. Project results will have benefits across the U.S. South with regard to documenting the effects of BMP implementation on sediment delivery to streams on lands managed by SFI Program Participants. This information will also help compare forestry to other land uses and show benefits of sustainable forest management and BMP implementation.
SFI will use the data generated by the project to guide best practices and provide information to forest managers that may help them enhance water quality. Better and more consistent data will enable forest managers across the U.S. and Canada to build understanding of BMPs for water quality.
Results will also be presented to resource professionals at multiple venues such as the Biennial Southern Silviculture Research Conference, Council on Forest Engineering, Society of American Foresters National Convention, SFI Annual Conference, and the Soil Science Society of America conference. Information will also be incorporated into logger training presentations, which are required under SFI forest management and fiber sourcing certification.
This partnership includes academics, conservationists, researchers, SFI Program Participants and state government officials.
Project lead: Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Virginia SFI Implementation Committee
National Council for Air and Stream Improvement
Southern Group of State Foresters
Virginia Department of Forestry
North Carolina Forest Service
Texas A&M Forest Service
Recognizing the Value of Forest Certification in Protecting Water Quality (media release).
EPA: No Further Regulation of Forest Roads Necessary — Science-Based Best Management Practices Programs Offer Effective Water Quality Protections (media release).
About the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
The Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation is one of four departments within the College of Natural Resources and Environment and it’s one of the top programs in natural resource management in the United States. It focuses on the latest applications to uncover the science needed to manage forests and other natural resources. Its programs are diverse and approach critical natural resource issues from many disciplinary perspectives. From protected areas management and economic policy to forest soil productivity, urbanization, and genomics, researchers seek to discover new knowledge and technology to address the global challenges to come.
Dear SFI Community,
I’d like to share an update from SFI on our strategies to ensure smooth operations as well as some adjustments we have made with regards to upcoming events in light of COVID-19. The following reflects our best efforts to keep our teams and our interactions with our community as safe and healthy as possible, and to provide you with some certainty with regards to upcoming events and dates.
REACHING SFI STAFF
SFI staff continue to be fully operational and able to support any needs or questions you may have about SFI programs. In order to ensure the health and safety of our team, all SFI employees are currently working remotely and we have the systems in place to allow us to be fully accessible by email, phone, and video call. You can find contact information for staff on our website or can send general inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SFI AUDIT GUIDANCE
SFI has issued updated guidance regarding audit restrictions due to COVID-19. We recognize that other requirements related to implementing the SFI Standards, such as logger training, may be disrupted while travel and gatherings are restricted. SFI will issue further guidance as warranted. Questions about audits or standard requirements should be directed to Gregor Macintosh, SFI Senior Director of Standards, at Gregor.email@example.com.
SFI/PLT MEETINGS AND WORKSHOPS
In order to prioritize the health and safety of our community and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, SFI is canceling all scheduled in-person meetings and workshops through June, with alternative virtual arrangements being developed, as follows:
PROJECT LEARNING TREE CANADA GREEN JOBS SUMMIT
The planned March 23-24 Summit has been redesigned as an e-summit on March 23, bringing youth together from across Canada to discuss green career pathways.
CONSERVATION IMPACT SOUNDING BOARD WORKSHOP
The planned May 20-21 workshop will be redesigned as a webinar on May 20 focused on the intersection of Conservation Impact research and the developing 2022 SFI Standards, with a particular focus on carbon and climate change.
PROJECT LEARNING TREE COORDINATORS’ CONFERENCE
The planned June 8-12 conference in Bremerton, WA, has been postponed until 2021 at the same location. In lieu of the 2020 conference, plans are underway to host a one-day virtual event on June 10 or 11 offering professional development and networking to the PLT Coordinators and partners.
STANDARD REVISION WORKSHOPS
These May/June workshops were designed as regional opportunities to comment on proposed revisions and enhancements to the SFI Standards. SFI still plans to release the next draft Standards by May 1 and conduct a 60-day comment period through the end of June. Instead of the in-person workshops, we will conduct dedicated webinars focused on specific themes and requirements in the Standards, as follows:
Logger Training and Education
Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
Conservation of Biological Diversity
Chain of Custody, SFI Labels and Claims, and Controversial Sources
SFI IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE REGIONAL MEETINGS
These May/June meetings were planned to coincide with the Standard Revision Workshops and were designed to provide opportunities for SIC members to engage on bi-national SFI priorities and share best practices across committees. These will instead be conducted as regional webinars, with dates coming soon.
Join SFI’s E-Summit, Growing Solutions, to share ideas about how sustainably managed forests, and products sourced from those forests, are great tools in moving towards shared sustainability goals.
This year, SFI is hosting a one-day E-Summit on October 22 to bring our network together to engage around the work SFI is doing across its 4 pillars to achieve our mission of advancing sustainability through forest-focused collaborations.
We appreciate your continued support of SFI and look forward to connecting with you through one of these many opportunities.