What Is A FWQG?

    What Is A FWQG?

     

    By Lisa Dennis-Perez

    FWQGs are Utah’s new Forest Water Quality Guidelines. They are voluntary measures that landowners, loggers, and natural resource professionals can utilize to help protect water quality. The FWQGs were developed through a cooperative effort of the Utah Division of Water Quality and the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, with input from the Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee, the Utah NonPoint Source Task Force, and the public. The Utah FWQGs have been adopted as part of the state’s NonPoint Source Management Plan and approved by EPA. But what does all this mean to the forest landowner?

    Forest Water Quality Guidelines are a collection of excellent suggestions for forest landowners looking to implement forest practices, such as timber harvesting, on their lands. The guidelines spell out ways to protect the land, the timber resource, and water quality. FWQGs address issues regarding road construction, timber harvesting, protecting streamside areas, forest regeneration, using prescribed fire, and more. These guidelines can be referenced by landowners in timber sale contracts and agreements with logging contractors to ensure that resource values are protected during and long after forest activities. Landowners may choose to utilize one or two guidelines, or may find that nearly all the guidelines are important in reaching their management goals. Implementation of the FWQGs is voluntary, but can contribute to the continued productivity and quality of forest lands for generations to come.

    Copies of the Silvicultural Addendum to the NonPoint Source Management Plan containing the FWQGs can be obtained by contacting Ed Storey at FF&SL, 801-538-5555 or Rick Summers at the Division of Water Quality, 801-538-6146. The Addendum also can be found on the FF&SL web site at http://www.ffsl.utah.gov/ffsl.htm. In addition to listing the FWQGs, this publication offers comprehensive information on non-voluntary state regulations that need to be followed when implementing forest practices and serves as an excellent reference guide. While the FWQGs are currently only available in this format, a more user-friendly publication and a series of workshops illustrating the principles behind the FWQGs and how to implement them are planned for the Fall of next year. In the mean time, the agencies listed above are available to provide assistance in implementation of the new guidelines. The FWQGs represent a new, valuable tool in the effort to manage forestlands for the continued benefit of landowners and the public as a whole.

    An extensively illustrated document explaining Utah’s new Forest Water Quality Guidelines is available here. A printed version of the same is available from USU Forestry Extension. Please contact the Utah Forest Landowner Education Program at 435-797-0560, write to 5230 Old Main Hill, Logan UT 84322-5230, or email Darren McAvoy at darren.mcavoy@usu.edu.