In a 7:1 decision, on March 20, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that natural rain water runoff from forest roads should be regulated the same way as runoff from farm fields. The issue was whether federal permits or state forestry regulations are the best approach. The major concept behind erosion control and stormwater management is to allow the water to go naturally down the hillside, and if it is channeled in culverts or ditches, flow it onto the forest floor and away from streams. Watch our roads video. to see how this works in the field. The Supreme Court removed a huge cloud over forestry operations, which are best regulated through state forestry “Best Management Practices” and state laws instead of “duplicative or counterproductive” federal permits. State and private landowners in Washington have inventoried more than 57,000 miles of forest roads, and invested nearly $172 million to fix problems, including removing nearly 5,000 fish passage barriers which have opened up more than 3,200 miles of fish habitat. Find out more how this program works through the state’s Forests and Fish Law. At the end of the day, the Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of ensuring that all activities affecting water meet high water quality standards. Keeping water clean is the goal. Foresters do their part to meet that goal. What the Supreme Court decided only makes common sense -- using the federal stormwater permits for traditional industrial buildings is not appropriate for our farms and forests. Mark Doumit, Executive Director, Washington Forest Protection Association, 3/22/13.
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