Society of American Foresters

Northwest Regions

SAF Welcomes EPA Decision on Forest Roads

On July 5, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its Notice of Decision not to regulate forest roads discharges under the Clean Water Act (CWA). With this decision, EPA once again affirms that state-level Best Management Practices (BMPs) and related federal and private sector programs are the most effective means to address stormwater runoff from forest roads. This long-awaited decision responds to the remand in Environmental Defense Center, Inc. v. U.S. EPA, 344 F.2d 832 (9th Cir. 2003) that required EPA to consider whether the CWA requires additional regulations for stormwater discharges from forest roads. 

In its public statement, EPA explained that "efforts to help strengthen existing programs would be more effective in further addressing forest road discharges than superimposing an additional federal regulatory layer over them." 

SAF has long been committed to this issue and celebrated this decision, with Clark W. Seely, CF, President of SAF stating: 

"Natural resource professionals continually refine BMPs using emerging science and information gathered through consistent monitoring to design site-specific recommendations and accommodate the broad range of uses and local conditions. The over 90 percent implementation rate nationwide is a testament to stakeholder support and the emphasis placed on maintaining and improving water quality among forest managers. SAF encourages EPA to strengthen these programs by making more CWA Section 319 funds available to enhance state monitoring and testing and to expand education and training programs."

Check out our most recent comments to EPA on Forest Roads in the "Our Team in Action" section. 

Contact John Barnwell for more information on SAF's past efforts on this issue and our plans moving forward.