Timber Harvesting - Landowners

When it comes to timber harvesting activities, there are a few things that private landowners should know before a logger comes onto your property and starts cutting trees down.  Timber harvesting is considered an earth disturbance activity and is therefore regulated by the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP’s) Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Regulations.

Timber harvesting is considered an earthmoving activity because the act of removing trees (i.e., pulling the stumps out of the ground) disturbs the surface of the earth.  Log landings, haul roads, skid trails and site entrances can create the potential for erosion and sedimentation to occur if not properly planned out in advance.  So what do these regulations actually mean to you as a private landowner?

The first thing to consider when proposing a timber harvesting activity is minimizing the potential for erosion and sedimentation from all disturbed areas (this includes the harvesting areas, log landings, haul roads and skid trails).  This is done by implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as:  cross-drain culverts, water bars, broad-based dips, vegetative filter strips, filter fabric fence, straw bale barriers, stabilized road entrances and seed and mulch. 

In addition to implementing and maintaining erosion and sediment control BMPs, you are also required to develop and implement a written Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (E&S Plan).  The Department of Environmental Protection has developed an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan for Timber Harvesting Operations to assist private landowners in the preparation of an E&S Plan; click on the attachment below.

Secondly, and more importantly, what many landowners fail to realize is that they are an integral part of protecting Fulton County’s streams and wetlands from the impacts of sediment pollution.  As a landowner, you need to hold the logging contractor and/or forester accountable for their work and ensure compliance with the regulations.  Before you begin your project, become familiar with the Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Regulations.  Inform your logger and/or forester of the need for a written Erosion and Sediment Control Plan as part of the project.  Proper planning and the use of erosion and sediment control BMPs is the key to a successful project and ultimately, the protection of Fulton County’s water resources.  At the end of the day, you as the landowner are ultimately responsible under the regulations if something goes wrong on your property.

If you would like additional information or have questions concerning erosion and sediment control requirements for timber harvesting activities, please contact District Manager, Seleen Shives, at 717-325-6093 or seleen@fultoncountyconservationdistrict.org.