BMP's: Best Management Practices

Forestry for Idaho
Forest Stewardship Guidelines for Water Quality

Idaho's forestlands supply beauty, pure water, abundant wildlife, minerals, recreation, forage, timber, and thousands of jobs. This book is dedicated to the stewardship of those qualities - especially pure water. It describes Best Management Practices (BMP's) for protecting water quality.

If you work in the forest, own forestland, or are concerned about our forests, this publication is for you. It contains BMP guidelines and gives reasons for BMP's, not just rules. However, reading these pages is not enough. Maintaining our forests' productivity and benefits can only be achieved by on-the-ground application of BMP's.

How you apply BMP's in the forest will require practice and personal judgment. Following the principles in this publication will help you comply with the Idaho Forest Practices Act (below). For more specific details on FPA rules, contact the nearest Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) office. Most forest operators in Idaho are familiar with the act and conduct forest practices that exceed the minimum requirements of Idaho Law.

The Idaho Forest Practices Act (FPA)

The Forest Practices Act was passed by the 1974 Idaho Legislature to assure the continuous growing and harvesting of forest trees and to maintain forest soil, air, water, vegetation, wildlife, and aquatic habitat. The Act requires forest practices rules for state and private lands to protect, maintain, and enhance our natural resources. Federal land practices must meet or exceed the requirements of the state rules. The Act provides for an advisory board of forest landowners, operators, informed citizens, and environmental and fisheries experts to recommend rules to the State Land Board.
When a careless or destructive operation is found in violation of the rules and corrective measures are not taken in a reasonable time, the Idaho Department of Lands will take enforcement action against the responsible operator. Forest Practice Advisors, located statewide, also provide technical assistance to forest owners and operators who wish to learn about proper forest practices.

Notification of Forest Practice

Since 1975, operators have notified IL of forest practices by securing a Slash Compliance or "brush number" and Forest Practice Notice. Five categories of forest practice require notification: (1) timber harvesting and related road construction; (2) road construction and reconstruction away from the harvesting area but associated with harvesting; (3) reforestation; (4) application of chemicals for forest management purposes; (5) the management of slash resulting from harvest, management, or improvement of forest tree species, and the use of prescribed fire.

Notification is made at a local IDL office by filling out a Certificate of Slash Compliance/ Notification of Forest Practice. No plan or permit is required. The forest practice may begin upon IDL acceptance of the notification. Copies of the notification are sent to the landowner, timber owner, and operator.

The notification is valid for the same period as the slash compliance. Upon expiration, it must be renewed before the practice can continue. Extensions and other changes in the notification must be made within 30 days by the person who filed the original notification. Notification of emergency forest practices due to fire, flood, windthrow, or earthquake may be made up to 48 hours after such practices are started.


No notification is required for the following forest practices: routine road maintenance, recreational uses, grazing by domestic livestock, cone picking, culture or harvest of Christmas trees, or harvesting other minor forest products; and noncommercial cutting and removal of trees for personal use; and prepatory work such as tree marking, surveying and road flagging.


IDL will not accept new notifications until violations are resolved. Repeated violations may result in the operator posting a bond. Violation of the rules is also a misdemeanor. IDL can take civil action to recover repair and legal costs if a violation that causes resource damage is not repaired by an operator.


Idaho Forest Products Commission
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